FC Kansas City responded forcefully to the accusation early Friday evening, saying in a statement attributable to ownership: “These e-mails were fabricated by Brian Budzinski, a disgruntled former employee of the Missouri Comets. He sent these emails out four months ago under a fake e-mail account under the pseudonym of another former employee, but they/it was proven to be a ruse. This is one of several different tactics Brian is using in trying to negotiate the purchase of the Missouri Comets.
“We are going to reach out to Excelle regarding slander, as they obviously haven’t confirmed their sources. Brian has sent this article to other media sources who have refused to publish anything due to no corroboration.”
A message left for Budzinski at the Kansas City Soccer Dome, where he was expected to check in on Friday night, was not immediately returned.
The Likens are part of an ownership group for FCKC including themselves and Budzinski. They also own the Missouri Comets, who play in the Major Arena Soccer League and, until recently, were also coached by FCKC’s Vlatko Andonovski. Andonovski stepped down as the Comets’ coach in order to focus on coaching FCKC
Currently, the Likens are embroiled in a lawsuit with Budzinski. As detailed by the KC Business Journal, part of Budzinski’s complaint against his partners is that he wants to know “whether Brad and Greg Likens used the Comets’ computers and servers to transmit scantily attired and suggestively posed pictures of FC Kansas City’s female players in a way that created a hostile and discriminatory work environment.”
The source who provided these emails told Excelle Sports: “The workplace at FC Kansas City and Nations Holdings is often blatantly demeaning to women, including high-level employees engaged in alleged sexual harassment of female employees and other misconduct. The players of FC Kansas City and the USWNT have a right to know who they are playing for. The other team owners have a right to know who is in the board room with them.”