Can a little league baseball association charge an extra fee for using public property? 3 Answers as of June 12, 2013

A local little league is charging an extra fee to outside men's leagues for the use of the village's baseball fields. Little league has a fee of 300 dollars per child to play in "their" league. They also want to and have been charging 100 dollars "per game" for a men's league to use a field that belongs to the village. The village does have a permit system in place and has been in place for a number of years now and nowhere on their permit does it state any charges for the use of their fields. This is just the short of it, there's more here than meets the eye! Would this be a form of extortion displayed by the little league Association?

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Lawyer for Indie Media
Lawyer for Indie Media | Sue Basko
The first thing to find out is if this is a sweetheart deal between the village and the Little League, if it is an actual ordinance passed by the Village, or if it is some kind of a scam heist being perpetrated by the Little League. In any case, you should start attending the Village board meetings and raising a fuss. It may be time to file a complaint with the State Attorney General. You may need a lawyer to help you. Life being as it is, it may need to be a lawyer from outside the immediate area, since in such situations, it is often that no one will want to be the one standing up against what is presented as being funding for kids sports. In actuality, this is probably an illegal fee being placed that hampers mens' sports. Get active and get civic.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 6/12/2013
Lawyer for Independent Media
Lawyer for Independent Media | Sue Basko
You should check the village ordinances and see if the village passed an ordinance to levy a fee to use the fields and if the fee would go to the Little League. If this is the case, it sounds as if it might be illegal to be charging rental on a village property and turning it over to a private organization. It sounds like it may be time to file a complaint with an authority higher than the local village, such as with a state agency or in court. If the Little League wants to raise funds, it should probably be doing so with traditional fundraisers, rather than gouging the men's teams. It might be time to file a complaint with the State Attorney Generals office.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/12/2013
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
On the surface, the little league association shouldn't have any authority to control who gets to use public, city-owned recreation property. However, sometimes government entities grant an outside, private group the authority to manage such property as long as the group agrees to abide by certain laws (nondiscrimination of any protected group, for example) and regulations (insurance, maintenance, etc.). Check with your village council, mayor, or whoever has the authority to see what the terms of its agreement with the little league are and who gets the extra fees. Somebody has to cover the costs of keeping a ball field in usable condition and providing equipment. Is it possible that these funds are going toward maintenance or future improvements?
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 6/12/2013
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