Dropping the ball

Show me the money.

Show me the money.

United Football League athletes are not the only ones having trouble getting paid.

In Sacramento, the Mountain Lions have also played cat-and-mouse with nonplayer employee paychecks.

Employees due to receive checks in November finally have just started to receive them. The Mountain Lions’ cheer and dance team checks, for instance, were sent out last week.

The team photographer also awaits her check from last year.

Meanwhile, the NFL website reported in a December 30 story that several UFL players hadn’t been paid for a season that ended in November. According to the site, league commissioner Michael Huyghe blamed the delay on a “December cash crunch.” The crisis came in part from operational, expansion and relocation costs. For instance, the Florida team just moved to Virginia Beach, Va. The commissioner also said the league owes $1.5 million in back salary.

The league’s fumbles are little consolation for Mountain Lions’ photographer Jana Hendler. “At the end of the year I was having trouble making rent and getting my car fixed because I hadn’t received their check,” she told SN&R.

Russ Edmonson, team spokesman, attributed her delay to checks being sent to the wrong address by the league office, which pays all bills. E-mails from the league confirm this. As for the rest of the team, Edmonson said only that “players and staff have been paid.”

Good thing, as the Mountain Lions’ next season kicks off in the summer of 2011. (Hugh Biggar)

Tea party’s departed donor

At last, proof that politics outlasts the grave: Last week, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that the Tea Party Express, a national “grassroots” conservative group based in Sacramento, had been receiving donations from a woman who died in 2007.

According to Federal Election Commission records, Joan Snyder Holmes, with an address in Guam, made four donations totaling $7,500 in the fall of 2009 to the Our Country Deserves Better/Tea Party Express political action committee. But the woman had died in February 2007, and her remains are interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

According to FEC records, in the fall of 2010 the Tea Party Express paid out nearly half a million dollars, or 49 percent of its expenditures that quarter, to public-relations firm Russo, Marsh & Rogers. Sal Russo, founder and principal at the company, is also listed as the chief strategist for Our Country Deserves Better/Tea Party Express.

SN&R attempted to reach Russo through both the Tea Party Express and also his firm. E-mails were not returned, and his voice mail was too full to accept messages. SN&R did, however, receive four separate e-mail fundraising requests last week from Russo on behalf of the Tea Party Express, in which he claimed that the organization was being blamed for the violence in Tucson and in desperate need of donations.

While the small donors listed in the FEC reports might complain about how their money was spent, it’s a sure bet that Ms. Holmes won’t do so—because she’s definitely dead. (Kel Munger)