A Rapid City man is facing allegations that he made wild pitches that earned him thousands of dollars.
A lawsuit and complaint filed Tuesday in Pennington County charges that Jason Anderson owes nearly $25,000 after failing to host a baseball clinic and create traveling teams for players ages 8 to 18.
Jason Herz, owner of The Batter's Box, said in a complaint that Anderson received a total of $18,500 from Herz to help organize a "Training with the Pros" baseball clinic. The clinic, originally scheduled for early April, has not occurred, and Anderson will not return Herz's money, according to the complaint.
Herz said Wednesday that he initially heard that Anderson was looking to start a baseball training facility in Rapid City. With other competition already in town, Herz said he reached out to Anderson to perhaps form a partnership.
"I didn't want to be standing on the side if a new business comes down and thrives," Herz said.
In the complaint, Herz said Anderson would arrange to have instructors with Major League baseball experience, including MLB Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, come to Rapid City for a weekend clinic. The pair agreed to cooperate with operation of the clinic and finalized plans in March, Herz said.
According to the complaint, Herz said Anderson needed a total of $2,000 to pay for T-shirts, fliers and travel expenses to raise awareness across the state for the spring clinic. The complaint says Anderson later told Herz he had more than 500 registrants for the clinic at $150 apiece.
On four separate occasions, Anderson asked Herz to pay varying amounts to cover appearance fees for Major League talent at the clinic and travel arrangements, according to the complaint. Herz said he made four payments totaled $16,500.
Herz said Anderson requested to reschedule the clinic a handful of times for various reasons - inclement weather, lack of space, miscommunication and missed flights.
In the complaint, Herz charges breach of contract, fraud, conversion and a civil complaint under Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or RICO.
Anderson declined Thursday to answer any questions related to Herz's complaint, saying that the matter would be settled in court.
"The business that Jason Herz and I had together is personal and between us. Jason knows the facts, and I know the facts," Anderson said. "The point is now, we're going to court. It's a sad thing. It's hard to do."
Anderson said that he and Herz both put money toward the clinic. He acknowledged that he may have been trying to juggle too many responsibilities with the clinic, saying that he was in "over my head."
It's not the only court action Anderson is facing.
Ken and Vicki Packwood filed a complaint in small claims court Wednesday afternoon, demanding that $6,400 they had paid Anderson toward the traveling team be returned.
The Packwoods said their 9-year-old son made the Team South Dakota roster, an organized traveling baseball group led by Anderson, on June 24. But the team never had a full practice, because players were scattered across the state.
"It is tough to get it going, because I don't have local kids," Anderson said. "I can't recruit kids locally."
On June 25, the day after the Packwoods' successful tryout, Vicki Packwood said the family and Anderson met for lunch. Anderson said during the meal that joining the team would cost $5,500. The family paid in cash on June 25, according to a receipt submitted in the family's claim.
Another receipt submitted in the claim was for $800 in cash toward travel for a tournament in Cocoa, Fla., the first weekend in July. The Packwoods said they received multiple text messages the night before the team was supposed to leave on the trip that flight information hadn't been finalized.
The morning the team was supposed to go to the tournament, Vicki said another text message was sent informing them that the team would fly to Orlando, Fla., the following day.
"I pulled out the schedule, and I called Cocoa Beach," Ken Packwood said Wednesday. "We weren't even registered."
Ken Packwood said he then called another tournament on the team's schedule and was again told the team hadn't been registered, either.
"Right after that phone call, I said, ‘I want my money back.'"
Anderson acknowledged the team wasn't registered for the tournament the day of the flight. He said he had the proper amount of players but that three dropped out shortly before the team was supposed to leave.
The couple said they met with Anderson on July 7, and the three of them signed a contract saying Anderson would return $6,400 - the $6,300 they paid in cash plus an extra $100 - by July 9. A copy of the contract was included in the Packwoods' claim.
Ken Packwood said July 9 came and went without payment, so he extended the deadline until Monday. Still, no payment came, so he submitted the information to the court system.
Anderson said he is aware the Packwoods have filed a claim and that he would repay the Packwoods in full.
"I respect them, and they're going to get their money back," he said.
For now, Anderson said he remains hopeful that he can eventually get a traveling team off the ground.
"I'm still trying to make it work and move on," he said.
Ken Packwood, who is stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base and recently moved to Rapid City from South Carolina, said he will do more advance scouting next time.
"Do your homework before you get in any kind of deal like this," he said. "Do the homework, and ask more questions."
Journal correspondent Josh Benham contributed to this report.
Contact Danny Lawhon at 394-8431 or email@example.com.