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FC Kansas City co-owners in court dispute

NWSL is alive and well heading into its fifth season.

FC Kansas City’s ownership group appears to have splintered and co-owner Brian Budzinski has filed a lwasuit against his partners, brothers Brad and Greg Likens.

According to a report by James Dornbrook in Kansas City Business Journal, Budzinski is seeking a total of $3.75 million in damages from the Likens brothers. The suit states that that the brothers have frozen Budzinski out on decisions regarding the club. The examples cited are in regards to the Missouri Comets, a men’s indoor team owned by the same group that plays in the Major Arena Soccer League. FC Kansas City head coach Vlatko Andonovski doubled as Comets coach until stepping down from the latter position recently.

A less detailed but potentially more troubling element of the case suggests the Likens brothers may have used company servers to send inappropriate emails and pictures.  From Dornbrook’s article:

Budzinski also said he wanted to investigate whether Brad and Greg Likens used the Comets’ computers and servers to transmit scantily attired and suggestively posed pictures of FC Kansas City’s female players in a way that created a hostile and discriminatory work environment.

Excelle Sports obtained emailed sent between the Likens brothers and their father Chris. The emails show Budzinski was copied but do not include replies from him. Brad Likens released a statement late Friday that read: “These e-mails were fabricated by Brian Budzinski, a disgruntled former employee of the Missouri Comets. He sent these emails out four months ago under a fake e-mail account under the pseudonym of another former employee, but they/it was proven to be a ruse. This is one of several different tactics Brian is using in trying to negotiate the purchase of the Missouri Comets.

“We are going to reach out to Excelle regarding slander, as they obviously haven’t confirmed their sources. Brian has sent this article to other media sources who have refused to publish anything due to no corroboration.”

NWSL released this statement regarding the email allegations: “The alleged conduct is counter to the very core principles that we expect of our league and teams. We are currently gathering information and will not comment further until the matter has been thoroughly assessed.”

Through his attorney’s office, Budzinski issued a no comment on all matters pertaining to the suit including a question about whether he was still in a position of authority with the clubs.

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