FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks was paid a $183,594 salary from the team over a nearly yearlong span that began about the same time some front-office personnel were laid off, according to filings in the team's bankruptcy case.
The court papers filed this week show that Hicks received that salary, plus $14,452 in expenses, from the Rangers from June 15, 2009, through May 24 this year.
Hicks declined comment Wednesday.
In mid-June 2009, the Rangers confirmed that some staff members had been laid off. That came about two weeks after Hicks first said he was exploring the sale of the team, though team officials said then the cuts amounted to less than 10 percent of the staff of about 275 employees, excluding players and other on-field personnel.
The Rangers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection May 24 in hopes of spurring completion of the sale to a group led by team president Nolan Ryan and Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg, who four months earlier had reached an agreement with Hicks. Creditors have stalled the sale over concerns about the financially strapped Hicks Sports Group.
According to court papers, Hicks received the salary as chairman of the board and CEO of Texas Rangers Baseball Partners, the Hicks Sports Group subsidiary that operates the baseball team. Hicks had also received a salary in the past, but the amount of those payments was not part of the most recent filing.
Hicks said in February that he put $85 million of his own money into Hicks Sports Group to cover operating costs of the Rangers and the NHL's Dallas Stars over a two-year period through March 2009. That was before HSG defaulted on more than $525 million in loans backed by the two teams. The Stars are also up for sale in a separate transaction.
Despite the financial struggles for Hicks Sports Group, Hicks' personal wealth was still listed at $1 billion by Forbes earlier this year.
The papers filed Monday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fort Worth also revealed that Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher who became team president in 2008, was paid a salary of $1.54 million from May 29, 2009, through May 24.
After next week's mediation between the team and its angry creditors, a final decision is expected July 9 on the Rangers' plan to sell the team and repay lenders the $75 million the club claims is its portion of debt tied up in Hicks' ownership group.
Creditors are trying to block the plan by saying the Chapter 11 filing was made in bad faith, which would be a bankruptcy code violation. They say the filing by the team removed their rights to approve the Rangers sale.
The creditors also argue that the team does not just owe $75 million, but is obligated to pay more than $525 million in loans that Hicks Sports Group defaulted on last year. Creditors also have argued that the Greenberg-Ryan bid, which Major League Baseball endorses, was not the highest.