DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — When outgoing Iowa Cubs chairman and owner Michael Gartner gathered the team’s 23 full-time employees last week in Principal Park’s Betfred Sports Lounge, he told them he was handing out new business cards.
What he handed out instead were bonus checks to the tune of $600,000, the Des Moines Register reported. The money came from profits from the recent sale of the team, and Gartner and his four associates wanted to share those profits with staff members.
Everyone, including the club’s custodian, got a check — $2,000 for every year they had been employed, even as interns. The longest tenured employee received a check for $70,000.
“It was pretty crazy,” Iowa Cubs broadcaster Alex Cohen said. “People were crying and shaking,”
Gartner’s son and team associate, Mike C. Gartner, said his dad came up with the idea to reward all the staff of the Triple-A Chicago Cubs affiliate with the profits from the sale, finalized Dec. 28 to Diamond Baseball Holdings, a subsidiary of global sports and entertainment company Endeavor. The younger Gartner said he and the other owners loved the idea.
“None of us gave it a second thought,” he said. “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.”