Excerpts from a cheerful story in the Des Moines Register:
As one of his final acts before leaving as the longtime chairman and principal owner of the Iowa Cubs, Michael Gartner gathered all the team’s employees in the Betfred Sports Lounge in left field at Principal Park for a surprise.Gartner and his four associates had finalized their sale of the team and brought some of the employees to the suite and the others away on vacation on a zoom call to thank them last Tuesday. But before leaving, Gartner, who had a stack of envelops, told them all he was going to hand them out new business cards.The envelopes weren’t business cards. They were payroll checks. Gartner and his partners were sharing profits of the club's sale to all 23 full-time staff members of the team. Everyone, including the club's custodian, was getting a check based off the number of years they worked for the team. Every employee got $2,000 for every year they had been there, even as interns.As Gartner broke the news to them, people became overjoyed and emotional. "It was pretty crazy," Cohen said. “People were crying and shaking,"For many in the room and on the call, it was life-changing money. A total of $600,000 the five had made from the sale was given away to employees. The longest tenured employee received a check for $70,000.
Note this money didn't go to the players, many of whom may be headed toward the major leagues. This money went to the employees...
"Those people really, really could use the money. They've got mortgages. They've got little kids. Some of them probably have college debt and car payments. It helps them over humps."The 83-year-old Gartner was popular among fans and employees ever since he and a group of associates purchased the Triple-A team and top affiliate of the Chicago Cubs back in 1999. Gartner, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former president of NBC News and editor of the Des Moines Register, added bleachers in right field, LED lights around the park and a fountain for kids to play in.Gartner routinely walked around the park and carried a baseball to hand out to kids he strolled by. When the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 Minor League Baseball season, Gartner, unlike owners across the sport, didn't lay off or furlough his staff. Instead, he kept them employed during the work stoppage so they could get by.