Debts to the city force ABA's Kansas City Stars to the sidelines

It appears the Kansas City Stars of the American Basketball Association have played their last game.

The Stars, who began play in late November, canceled games scheduled for Wednesday night and Thursday night at Municipal Auditorium against Oklahoma City, and no further games will be played until all their bills are paid.

The Stars are in arrears of $5,000 in rent to the city, said Oscar McGaskey, executive director of the Kansas City Convention and Entertainment Facilities. Until that debt is paid, McGaskey said, the city will not rent the facility to the club.

The Stars played three games at Municipal and have canceled at least four others.

Messages left for David Francis, chief operating officer of the club, were not returned. One club employee who was reached said he hasn’t heard officially if the club had ceased operations but was aware of the cancellations.

“These guys started out with a really neat idea,” said McGaskey. “This was a new venture for them, and right now they’re having some challenges putting fans in seats and getting the sponsorships to make this work.

“They seemed to be sincere in what they were doing. But when you get in these new ventures, you’re going to have costs that you have to prepare for, and the shortage of revenues to pay the expenses they were incurring was a problem for them.”