LAA: Revenue comes from rent and signage

Published 7:45 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Linden Athletic Association (LAA), the embattled group which has been at the center of controversy in recent weeks, has held the responsibility of operating and maintaining Linden Athletic Field since 1974. Until this season, the field was rented to both Linden High School and Marengo Academy on a per-game basis at a cost of $500.

“The income for Linden Athletic Association comes only in the form of field rent and advertising revenue from the sale of banners (that hang) on the fence (at Linden Athletic Field),” LAA President Hale Smith said. “All income to Linden Athletic Association is spent on Linden Athletic Field.”

According to Smith, the cost of operating the field has long been in excess of the $5,000 total paid each year Linden High and Marengo Academy. Tuesday evening, Smith provided the financial records of the LAA from Aug. 2010 to Dec. 2010 at the request of The Demopolis Times.

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Those records indicate the Linden Athletic Association spent nearly all of the $5,000 obtained in rental fees from the schools on field maintenance and utilities. The records provided do not reflect other expenditures such as insurance payments.

Smith became president of the organization nearly two months ago, the latest head of a group that has existed since its charter date of June 25, 1964.

According to that charter, the group originally contained some 60 members and was formed as a social society.

“The object and purpose of the society is to promote social enjoyment, betterment and development of the community, especially the building, maintaining and or operation of an athletic field for such of the youth of this county and their guests for such purposes, events and athletic contests, as may be approved from time to time by Linden Athletic Association,” the charter reads.

The group formed six years after the land, which now houses Linden Athletic Field, was sub-leased by the City of Linden.

At the request of The Demopolis Times, Smith provided copies of the lease agreement and of both property transactions each time the field has changed hands.

The original sub-lease agreement for the property shows the City of Linden leased the land from H.A. Satin and Company Inc. on June 16, 1958. H.A. Satin Company Inc., the Chicago-based corporation that owned the Linden Manufacturing Company on Highway 28, agreed to sub-lease the 2.3 acres of land to the city for $1 annually.

As part of the agreement, the city was to utilize the property “exclusively as an athletic field, to be used by the public.”

The agreement also maintained that the city would, at its earliest convenience, construct an additional parking lot adjacent to the Linden Manufacturing Company, to be utilized by LMC employees.

As part of the contract, both parties agreed the City of Linden could purchase the 2.3 acres of land for $250 at the conclusion of the Lease-Sale agreement.

The City of Linden officially purchased the property from H.A. Satin Company on May 20, 1974 for the predetermined amount of $250.

On Sept. 28, 1976, the property sold to Linden Athletic Association for $250, the same amount the city paid for the 2.3 acres two years earlier.

Stipulations of that transaction dictated the LAA was to maintain the property and all facilities in good repair and use the property only for athletic purposes and events. The agreement also stated the Linden Athletic Association cannot sell or dispose of the property without the express written consent of the City of Linden.

The final portion of the purchase agreement also states the field would immediately revert back to the city in the event the Linden Athletic Association legally dissolved or “ceased to actively function and/or operate” the property.