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Zion's Field of Dreams a ‘fraud,' lawsuit alleges

The troubled Lake County Fielders dropped the first game of a double header against the Calgary Vipers. Only a few hundred fans joined local campers at the first game of the double header. | Rob Dicker/Sun-Times Media

Zion’s “Field of Dreams” was a “fraud,” according to a lawsuit filed this week in Lake County.

The owner of the Lake County Fielders minor league baseball team, Grand Slam Sports and Entertainment, seeks more than $10.7 million in damages, according to court papers, in the latest development in the ongoing saga of a minor league stadium deal that fell apart.

The eight-count lawsuit alleges the City of Zion and the stadium site land owner, Green Bay Crossing, engaged in fraudulent actions that violated the city’s lease agreement with the independent minor league team, whose owners include Academy Award-winner Kevin Costner. The lawsuit also names Zion Mayor Lane Harrison, former Zion Economic Development Director Delaine Rogers and developer Richard Delisle.

The suit claims, among other things, that Harrison, Rogers and Delisle were “personal” friends who “engaged in a series of false material representations” related to building a permanent baseball stadium for the team. Specifically, Harrison, Rogers and Delisle “intended to block construction of the stadium” and prevent the sale of municipal bonds that would have been used to pay for the stadium construction.

The suit demands the city either build the stadium and pay the team $3.7 million, or pay the team $10.7 million plus attorney fees and other damages, court papers show.

Fielders’ principal owner Richard Ehrenreich declined to comment.

“It’s a case of a team owner acting in good faith to bring baseball to Zion and being caught up in politics and selfish interest in the town and its players,” Ehrenreich’s attorney Stephen Boulton said. “Unfortunately, the baseball team ended up suffering the most.”

Zion city attorney Scott Puma declined to comment. Harrison and Rogers did not return calls seeking comment. Delisle could not be reached.