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(NECN: Jennifer Eagan, Worcester, Mass.) - During the second to last home game for the Worcester Tornadoes the players wore hand me down shirts from the Can Am League. Their team shirts were part of the property seized by creditors and lawyers who say the team owes several business and the city tens of thousands of dollars.
"It’s weird," said one fan of the Tornadoes sporting shirts which read "Grays" across them. "We thought they were the visiting team. You can tell the guys are embarrassed."
The city of Worcester claims the team owes Worcester $60,000 for public safety details. The College of the Holy Cross, where the Tornadoes play their games, says the team has run up a bill of $50,000 for using the college’s facilities.
Tornadoes owner Todd Breighner was packing up a few things Tuesday morning after the organization was locked out of their own offices. Breighner seemed to tell reporters being late on bills is common practice.
"I don’t know what business in the city of Worcester doesn’t have debt," Breighner said.
He says he has been working hard to pay vendors, but that’s not the case according to Dave Sears of Print Resource in Westboro. Sears says his company is owed roughly $6700 for posters and brochures.
"We did projects with them multiple months ago. We invoiced them and now we can’t get in touch with them," Sears said.
On top of it all, former major league slugger Jose Canseco, who signed with the Tornadoes back in May, is suing the team. According to court documents filed Tuesday in Worcester Superior Court, Canseco is owed $80,500 in wages by the team. He is seeking damages 10 times that amount for interest on that money and lawyers fees.
"He was extremely disappointed," Canseco’s lawyer, Michelle Hubbard, said, "and felt he was not treated well. He thought like any employee he should be paid wages and he wasn’t."
As for the future of the independent Can Am League team, owner Todd Breighner insisted the Tornadoes will be back next year for another season.