Trash Pandas audit reveals no major inconsistencies, some payments pushed back to December


MADISON, Ala. – The City of Madison announced Monday that an audit of the Trash Pandas (BallCorps, LLC) turned up no major inconsistencies in financial reporting. This comes after BallCorps failed to pay an annual million-dollar venue revenue payment to the city in 2020.

One question that needed to be answered prior to Monday was, will taxpayers see the city get a full million dollar payment from 2020? The answer is no. There are also a few other financial commitments that the Trash Pandas are getting more time to pay back.

Prior to Monday’s council meeting, BallCorps, LLC had paid $177,000 of the past-due venue revenue payment from 2020 to Madison. And because of the pandemic, Madison will waive roughly $377,000 from the million dollar balance. Leaving around $445,000. Some of which got paid Monday night. A payment plan was set up for the rest.

“Giving BallCorps the ability to pay that over 4 payments. June, July, and August of $100,000 each. And September 1st of $145,000 to complete that balance. I can tell you that I have the $100,000 check for June ready to give on a separate approval,” said Madison Mayor Paul Finley.

The audit did find issues regarding sales tax revenue and the price for concessions equipment reported by former Trash Pandas President and CEO Ralph Nelson. The city claims the issues were known to them and it’s one reason why the audit was needed.

“There was more paid in sales tax than what we recorded,” said Ranae Bartlett, Madison’s District 5 City Councilwoman. “Mr. Nelson represented that the amount owed for food and beverage equipment as less than what it actually is,” added Bartlett.

Nelson tells News 19 he used tax documents to provide the city council with sales tax information. Nelson claims the documents would have needed to be wrong and that he had no intention if misleading anyone.

The sales tax audit problem is not a major issue for the City of Madison as BallCorps doesn’t have any outstanding bills there.

Monday night the council also agreed to extend a payment plan for concessions equipment and video screens, which combined equals more than $483,000. The money is now due in December of 2021 with a 3.25 interest rate.

“At no point did anyone deprive me of any information that I needed to make sure we get every dime we are owed,” said Bartlett about the people she worked with to get the audit completed.

As for Mayor Finley, he is confident the Trash Pandas will make good on future payments because they are actually playing baseball.

“To remind folks, 37,000 fans the first 6 days. Just so everyone knows, Mobile had 95,000 fans for the entire season (Last season they played). 70 games,” said Finley.

BallCorps, LLC has started paying 2021 bills to the City of Madison on top of late bills from 2020.

City of Madison officials told News 19 they cannot disclose the full audit report because it is subject to a confidentiality agreement with BallCorps. 

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