No formal proposals made for Gems ownership as Aug. 1 deadline nears

(H-W Photo/Michael Kipley)
Posted: Jul. 16, 2014 9:41 am Updated: Jul. 30, 2014 10:15 am

Herald-Whig Sports Editor

With deadlines looming, the sale of the Quincy Gems and the franchise's future remain in limbo.

The Prospect League set an Aug. 1 deadline for the Quincy franchise to decide if it will field a team for the 2015 season. Rob Ebbing, executive director of the Oakley-Lindsay Center and the Quincy Gems, said Tuesday he has asked for a 30-day extension of that deadline to continue negotiations with potential buyers.

"We're still waiting on formal proposals," Ebbing said.

David Chase, commissioner of the Prospect League, declined to comment on the request and all questions pertaining to the Gems' potential sale.

"At this time, I'm not in a position to comment," Chase said.

One problem may be the fact the Civic Center Authority, which operates the Oakley-Lindsay Center and the Gems, has yet to receive a formal bid.

The board voted unanimously last October to put the team up for sale. At its June 18 meeting, Ebbing said the Civic Center Authority and two unnamed potential buyers were in "serious conversations."

"Everything looks good at this point, but the paper hasn't been signed and the check isn't in hand," Ebbing said at the time.

On Tuesday, he said negotiations were still ongoing and said three parties were interested. Ebbing did say two potential buyers have local ties and one is from outside of Quincy.

"All three want to keep the Gems in Quincy," Ebbing said.

However, the Gems cannot commit to the Prospect League unless a sale is complete or the Civic Center Authority decides to run the franchise for another season, Ebbing said.

The Civic Center Authority must review all offers before any decisions can be made.

When the authority voted last October to put the Gems on the market, it was expected the team would suffer a loss of $76,000 from the 2013 season. Figures from the Civic Center Authority showed the Gems brought in $310,321 during the season and had $375,868 in expenses. That did not include the $8,500 the team still owed for fireworks and $3,200 it owed on its lease of QU-Stadium.

Updated figures released in December showed the team lost $91,000 last year.