WICHITA, Kan. What happened to money The Wichita Wingnuts raised for a boy's memorial back in 2015? That's a question some of you are asking, and Monday The Winguts said the organization still has it.
Kaiser Carlile was the bat boy for The Liberal Bee Jays when he died, and the team said it still wants that money to go toward a Wichita memorial for him.
The Wingnuts held a fundraiser for Kaiser, who was struck and killed by a bat at The NBC Baseball Tournament in 2015, and now those funds will be handed to The Liberal Bee Jays for safe keeping.
The general manager for the Bee Jays said in June, fans began asking questions about funds that were raised years ago for Kaiser's Wichita memorial. He said he reached out to The Wingnuts, who told him plans to build the memorial were on hold since the future of Lawrence Dumont Stadium is unclear.
At that time, both teams agreed they would think over who would hold onto the money for now.
The Winguts assure us it's in the process of transferring funds to The Bee Jays, which will hold onto the approximate $18,000 until stadium plans are secured and there is a location for it.
The Bee Jays' GM, Nathan McCaffrey, said he followed up with The Wingnuts about a month ago and heard back Monday about the team's decision.
"Today, coincidentally, I don’t know if your interview request has anything to do with it, but I received an email from Brian Turner stating they had decided to turn the funds over to The Bee Jays, and that process is in the works on their end," said McCaffrey.
"I don’t know that there’s a real good working relationship right now also between The Wingnuts and The City of Wichita, and so I think they’re hoping The Bee Jays have a better relationship and can get this memorial planned and built a little bit easier than The Wingnuts could having to work with the city."
Statement from The Bee Jays:
"Around June 7 of this year, some of our fans started asking questions on Facebook about the funds that were raised for a Kaiser Carlile Memorial. They had read other stories about the Wingnuts leaving or folding and Lawrence-Dumont being demolished and another stadium being built to replace it. I began reaching out to the Wingnuts and eventually began talking with both Brian Turner and Gary Austerman about the situation. They both assured me that they were still in possession of the funds, but that memorial plans had been put on hold, first due to other renovation projects at Lawrence-Dumont and then because of the uncertainty with what the City was planning for their team and the stadium. We spoke about some options for the Bee Jays to help the situation and eventually decided it would be best if the Bee Jays took custody of the funds to see that the money was spent for it's intended purpose.
I have been in contact with (Turner) today who has informed me he has put in a request for those funds and he will be sending them to us soon, in the amount of $18,015.89. Once we receive the money, we will ensure it's safe keeping. Of course, we still want to see the Kaiser Carlile Memorial installed at whatever stadium ends up being built and I've been assured the City of Wichita wants that as well. We do not have specific plans yet. The Wingnuts did provide us some information on their plans. So we will have to decide what kind of memorial is best and then work with the City and other parties to make sure it's incorporated into the new stadium."
Statement from The Wingnuts:
"...We assure you that the rumor in regards to the money raised during our fundraiser for the Kaiser Carlile Memorial being stolen is untrue. Since hosting the fundraiser back in June of 2015 the money has remained secure in the bank. The Wingnuts Organization has been in touch with the Liberal Bee Jays over the past few months, and we are in the process of transferring funds and details for the proposed memorial over to them once the necessary information has been received.
Due to postponed renovations and the possibility of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium being demolished after the completion of the 2018 season it has not made sense to put the project in motion only to have to remove, secure, and relocate the memorial once demolition started.
With the potential of a new stadium coming our hope is that the Liberal Bee Jays will be able to use the funds to incorporate a memorial into the facility.