FAIRBANKS — Two creditors are suing the Fairbanks Grizzlies for more than $17,000 in unpaid rent at the professional indoor football team’s downtown office and player apartments.
A Superior Court judge last week, in one of the lawsuits, ordered the team to remove its property from the office by Monday.
The Grizzlies, which played four seasons in Fairbanks, announced last month they will not play the 2012 season. But team officials plan to restructure the organization with hopes to participate in the 2013 season.
Two of the lawsuits were filed this summer by JL Properties Inc., owners of the Sophie Plaza Apartments on University Avenue.
JL Properties provided 16 one-bedroom apartments for players in the 2010 season. But the team never paid some $11,000 in rent, late fees, cable television bills and cleaning fees, according to JL Properties. In its court filings, the company included a lengthy email correspondence about the bills with team owner Ricky Bertz.
Ohana Investments sued the Grizzlies on Oct. 20, alleging the team owed about $6,000 in rent for the team’s downtown office, located at 1st Avenue and Cowles Street.
District Judge Jane Kauvar found a basis for the team’s eviction due to the failure to pay the rent. No one from the Grizzlies attended the court hearing to contest the finding. Kauvar gave the team until Monday to remove its belongings from the property.
The Grizzlies also struggled with housing issues in the 2011 season. This April, the team sued the Comfort Inn for removing players’ property from their rooms in violation of a contract. The hotel justified its actions by accusing players of having inappropriate relationships with hotel staff, according to court filings. That case was resolved out of court, said attorney Jason Weiner, who represented the hotel.
The Grizzlies also had a messy separation with head coach Robert Fuller, who in August announced he would not return to lead the team. Fuller contends the team owed him payment from the final two months of his contract, which expired Sept. 30. Ricky Bertz, the team’s owner, contends Fuller resigned in late July and that team therefore owes nothing.
The money struggles for the Grizzlies come despite some success on the field. The Grizzlies had a 10-4 record in 2011 and captured the regular season title in the Intense Conference Pacific Division of the Indoor Football League.
Bertz did not respond to phone calls requesting comment for this article.
Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545.