Gastonia Honey Hunters’ Ownership Group Countersues City, Alleging Unlawful Seizure Tactics

GASTONIA, N.C. – The owners of the Gastonia Honey Hunters baseball team have filed a countersuit against the City of Gastonia, claiming that the city engaged in an unlawful pattern of conduct that led to the seizure of their ownership. The suit comes after the city had previously filed a lawsuit against the team’s ownership group, NC Gas House Gang, in November.

According to the city’s lawsuit, NC Gas House Gang had a history of violating agreements and failing to meet financial obligations, which resulted in disruptions to utility services and potential damage to the stadium. The city is seeking monetary damages and the removal of the team from CaroMont Health Park, also known as FUSE Stadium.

In their countersuit, NC Gas House Gang alleges that the city and the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) conspired to take control of the team’s ownership. They claim that the city and the league had difficulty finding a willing owner for the team and pushed NC Gas House Gang to have a team ready to play as soon as the stadium was completed.

The ownership group states that the rushed timeline led to financial losses in the team’s first season of play in 2022. Despite improvements on the field in their third season, financial struggles continued to mount. NC Gas House Gang asserts that the city and the ALPB preemptively decided to take ownership away from them without involving them in the decision-making process.

Court documents reveal that NC Gas House Gang owed millions of dollars to various organizations, including nearly $100,000 to police and paramedics who worked at the games. The ownership group claims that they recognized their financial situation and secured an angel investor to cover their debts, as well as two prospective buyers willing to purchase the team for $4 million. However, both efforts were rejected by the city and the league.

After the ALPB terminated NC Gas House Gang’s membership in November, the city terminated their agreements with the ownership group and filed the lawsuit. NC Gas House Gang alleges that the city subsequently changed the locks on the stadium, effectively seizing ownership without compensation and driving them into bankruptcy.

In response, NC Gas House Gang’s countersuit seeks to dismiss the city’s lawsuit and requests damages over $75,000. They are also requesting a jury trial to address their case. The Honey Hunters’ representatives have stated that their legal team is fully engaged and working diligently to address these matters.

City of Gastonia officials have declined to comment, stating that they will respond in court at the appropriate time.

(Note: This story has been rewritten, incorporating elements of the original article in AP News Style, and no content has been directly copied from any news organization.)