Adelanto Inching Toward Ending $20,000 Per Month Management Pact For Stadium

Somewhat belatedly, the City of Adelanto is progressing toward getting out of the stadium management deal many residents feel the city should have never gotten itself into.
In August 2018, in one of the first contracts inked by Jessie Flores after he had been installed in the post of city manager, the city agreed to pay Aaron Korn and Darrell Courtney $20,000 per month for two years to manage Adelanto Stadium.
The deal came about after the city, then led by Mayor Rich Kerr, in 2016 booted the Mavericks minor league baseball club from the facility, after the team had been playing there for 24 years. That move led to a lawsuit being filed against the city that was settled after Kerr left office. The city agreed to make $3.8 million in total payments to the Mavericks ownership, which involved $1.5 million that was forked over early last year. The city has since shelled out out another $1,245,400 in $95,800 monthly installments over the last 13 months. The remaining amount will be paid in monthly installments of about $95,800 over a 24-month period. It will pay another $1,053,800‬ over the next 11 months.
For years, the city was concerned over the money it was losing at the facility, and it had been seeking a buyer.
After the Mavericks were evicted, the city had an arrangement with the San Bernardino County Fair, which goes by the corporate name of the 28th District Agricultural Association, to mind the grounds. The 28th District Agricultural Association had brought in Korn, who once had run for city council in Victorville, to serve as the stadium manager. When the city ended its arrangement with the fair, Korn was kept on as an independent contractor to continue what he had been doing, at a rate of $5,000 per month.
That $5,000 covered the salary of both Korn and Courtney, and was to remain in place for six months. Not quite six months later, Flores altered the deal, quadrupling the amount Korn and Courtney were to receive.
They committed to work with booking agents and promoters to bring entertainers to the stadium for events that would draw customers to the city’s businesses, and simultaneously generate rental revenue for the city from the acts using the stadium as a performing venue.
The ability of the stadium to meet the goals the city had in mind was uneven. Some months the city made a little money. Other times, the money brought in was less than was being paid to Korn and Courtney.
With the onset of the Coronavirus crisis and the mandates against public gatherings and the stay at home orders emanating from Governor Gavin Newsom and local authorities, the stadium stood empty. Its last event was the Ventura Stars Circus on February 24.
For two months, the facility has been mothballed, and some residents have begun to question the wisdom of expending $20,000 a month to manage a financial black hole.
There is a clause in the contract that allows the city to opt out if there is not sufficient revenue being generated at the stadium to justify the continuation of the arrangement with Korn and Courtney.
Mayor Gabriel Reyes this week told the Sentinel, “Councilman [Ed] Camargo brought that up at our last meeting, and the city manager has brought it to our attention, also. They have started a conversation with the management team to let them know there is going to be some cancellation or modification due to the COVID-19 situation, and the obvious lack of activity going on. So, yes, that conversation has started. We have been in communication with the city attorney, and he will be giving us direction on this.”

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