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Skybox on Sheffield in 2010 | File photo

Wrigley Field rooftop owner charged with ripping off Chicago Cubs

SHARE Wrigley Field rooftop owner charged with ripping off Chicago Cubs
SHARE Wrigley Field rooftop owner charged with ripping off Chicago Cubs

Already awaiting a legal decision that, his lawyer says, could kill his Wrigley rooftop club, R. Marc Hamid now has one more worry: a federal indictment.

Federal prosecutors have charged Hamid, an owner and operator of Skybox on Sheffield, with ripping off the Cubs, the city, Cook County and the state to the tune of at least $600,000. Hamid, 46, is charged with four counts of mail fraud.

Under an agreement with the Cubs, Hamid was supposed to provide the baseball club 17 percent of gross revenues annually. Skybox was also supposed to provide the Cubs with annual attendance figures. But for four years, beginning in 2008, Hamid took part in a scheme to submit false annual royalty statements to the Cubs and under-reported attendance figures. In total, Hamid allegedly under-reported gross revenues by about $1.5 million, according to the indictment.

During the same period, Hamid’s alleged scheme resulted in the filing of false sales and amusement taxes with the state, city and county that understated attendance and revenue, the indictment states.

“By concealing the actual revenues of Skybox on Sheffield from the Cubs and state and local taxing authorities, defendant caused Skybox on Sheffield to unlawfully withhold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of royalty payments rightfully owed to the Cubs under the terms of the Cubs agreement, and hundreds of thousands of dollars due and owing to state and local taxing authorities,” according to the indictment.

Hamid could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Chris Gair, said: “My client didn’t do anything wrong, and we’re going to prove it in court.”

On Monday, in a separate case, an attorney for Skybox argued in federal court that if the Cubs are allowed to erect a giant video board in right field, it would block views of the games and essentially wipe out Skybox’s business.

Attorney Tom Lombardo, who also represents the owners of Lakeview Baseball Club, told Judge Virginia Kendall that his clients would face “thousands of angry customers demanding refunds” for tickets they bought in advance of the coming season.

The Cubs say nothing in a 2004 revenue-sharing agreement with the rooftop owners prevents them from putting up video boards and other signs.

Kendall is expected to rule within days whether construction of the video board should be halted.

Contributing: AP

Hamid Filed Indictment


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