FC Kansas City sale complete; team will remain local

The Equalizer Staff January 11, 2017 21

The long anticipated sale of FC Kansas City became official on Wednesday. Minnesota businessman Elam Baer has purchased the club from the Likens family and Brian Budzinski who founded the team together in late 2012. The Blues are the second NWSL club to be sold this week but unlike the Western New York Flash, will remain in Kansas City. The club also named a new general manager, Jean-Yves Viardin. Huw Williams resigned the post last year.

“This is a good day for Kansas City, one of the greatest sports towns in the United States,” Brad Likens said in a statement. “With Elam and his partners committed to the club and our region, I know our organization will be stronger than ever and this move is not only good for the team and our fans but the league as a whole.”

Baer, who operates North Central Equity LLC, has been in touch with head coach Vlatko Andonovski who will have full charge of the soccer operation.

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“I’m honored to be part of the future of FCKC whether that is on game day or in the greater Kansas City community,” Baer said. “I am fortunately to be joined by exceptional partners who want the same thing that I do, and that’s a club built for long-term stability and success in Kansas City.”

The future of the Likens group had been in doubt since last summer when litigation between the Likens’s and Brian Budzinski includes accusations that the Likens’s sent inappropriate emails about players on the team’s private server.

On the field, FC Kansas City has been a rousing success. They were the only NWSL club to qualify for the playoffs each of the first three seasons. They won the NWSL Championship in 2014 and repeated in 2015.

  • HOFCToDi

    No city funds for St. Louis stadium


    • Steglitz49

      Men’s soccer is Communism by the back door. It panders to illegal immigrants. It gnaws at the root of American exclusivity. As for WoSo all you need is some benches in the shade.

  • HOFCToDi


    • Steglitz49

      Soccer gnaws at the very root of American exclusivity and special status.

      The US has not only dominated WoSo for years but has been a great driver and power for good for the game world wide what with the rescue of WC-03 and getting WoSo into the OG in 1996.

      On the male side, where the real money is and where glory is to be had in spades, 2002 was the last time the US achieved anything of note. The game of the world is being bested by a domestic exercise.

      With a population of 315m, there is no reason why the US 23 years after WC-94 should not have its Messi, CR7, Zlatan or Iniesta, just like the US has it Carli, Alex, Dunn and Hope.

  • Guest

    Anyone based in MN that can tell me about this new GM? Can’t find a ton about Jean-Yves Viardin per google search.

  • Som Termanni

    I love how every outlet is reporting the Likens/Budzinski controversy, and nothing on Baer’s track record of controversies: alleged coverups, wire fraud, government corruption.

    Here he is, as Tim Pawlenty’s “longstanding friend and Republican strategist”, getting Pawlenty knocked off Mitt Romney’s VP list thanks to a telecom kickback scandal: https://mic.com/articles/11019/mitt-romney-vp-scandal-tim-pawlenty-accepted-54k-in-cash-payments-as-governor-worked-for-phone-company-involved-in-fraud, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/aug/03/tim-pawlenty-telecom-scandal-payments

    Here’s his company getting fined $200,000 and sued by Minnesota’s AG for ripping off telecom customers: https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-111751867.html, http://www.inforum.com/content/hatch-sues-telephone-companies-pawlenty-linked-new-access-accused-fraud, http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/07/21_zdechlikm_slamming/

    Here he is getting a RICO lawsuit against him thrown out on a technicality, over allegations that he moved funds out of a corporation for his own profit: https://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/puerto-rico/prdce/3:2009cv02014/75848/36

    Here is back in 1990 advising a different Minnesota gubernatorial candidate in the middle of a child sex scandal: http://articles.latimes.com/1990-10-26/news/mn-3078_1_minnesota-candidate

    • TsovLoj

      Thank you. As a Minnesotan, I have some pretty deep concerns.

      • Bernicejcarpenter

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      • Som Termanni

        If his track record plays out, KC is going to get cleaned out. It’s got the workings of magicJack: The Re-Jackening, right down to the dubious telecom ties, but this time there’s no player’s union to fight him and Ella Masar has wisely fled the country with Erin.

        If he signs Hope Solo and Abby Wambach shows up in any capacity, just light Swope on fire and walk away.

        • Steglitz49

          Always look on the bright side of life. he may not be Aulas or Akers or even Terry, but give the guy a chance.

          If not, why did you not buy the team yourself?

          • Som Termanni

            He might be fine. I still find it typical of woso media to bring up the low-hanging fruit (Likens/Budzinski) but do no research or vetting of the new owner. The top Google hit of “has elam baer ever screwed up” has “Pawlenty was associated with Elam Baer’s telecom scandal” right there on the link description.

        • I want to cry.

          I’m not one to overlook someone’s actions that are unrelated to the job at hand, but this is who we’re stuck with now. So, I guess my hope if that the players continue to feel good about playing for KC and are treated well. As long as most of their contact is with Andonovski, that’s probably a good thing.

          The comparison to Borislow and all the articles you posted freak me out. I’m crossing my fingers.

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe the Emir could be made interested?

    • guest

      As long as he opens his wallet, we’ll look the other way.

  • newsouth

    does this mean missy geha will get a roster spot?

  • Som Termanni

    Chard Farley talks to Jeff Plush at length about the NC Courage and HB2: http://www.fourfourtwo.com/us/features/jeff-plush-interview-north-carolina-courage-hb2-nwsl

    • mockmook

      What a bunch of BS

      Plush mouths some platitudes about “inclusiveness” and suddenly he’s a hero.

      Just say the reality: HB2 isn’t draconian and the NWSL is doing the expedient thing and going where it is wanted.

      • guest

        NWSL not financially strong enough to be taking moral stands.

  • john

    Does the new ownership have any ideas about increasing attendance/revenue and addressing what appears to be a suitable stadium issue?

    • Steglitz49

      They will ask for your and any other KC fans’s money and then act.