Eric Peterson, Published May 01 2009
Fargo-Moorhead Liberty fold: League commissioner says he has been unable to contact team's ownerThe Fargo-Moorhead Liberty semi-professional football team has folded after the team owner left for Florida earlier this month and apparently hasn’t returned.
The Liberty – who were Northern Power Football League champions in their first year – were scheduled to play their first game on Saturday.
Liberty assistant coach Dale Nordick said team owner Dale Heffron left for Florida in early April and, to his knowledge, has yet to return. In recent weeks, Nordick said he’s been unsuccessful in repeated attempts to contact Heffron.
“The guy is a likeable guy, but he just wasn’t honest with us,” Nordick said. “He left us hanging. … He just kind of changed his mind and walked away from the whole thing.”
NPFL commissioner Jason McCloskey said last week the league officially concluded that the Liberty had folded after McCloskey was unsuccessful in his attempts to reach Heffron.
McCloskey said he talked to Heffron on April 9, but McCloskey hasn’t heard from Heffron since. At that time, Heffron indicated he was going to Florida for a “weeklong vacation,” according to McCloskey.
“He and I really became friends,” McCloskey said. “I trusted the guy for the past two years and he did everything he said he was going to do and he just vanishes.”
McCloskey said the NPFL filled the lost Liberty dates against teams in the Semi Pro Football League.
Nordick said Heffron was at the Liberty’s first practice during the first weekend in April. Nordick talked with Heffron one more time after that first practice.
Nordick said he held two more practices before he told the players the team was done.
“He was the finances behind everything and it’s expensive to run it,” Nordick said of Heffron. “It’s pretty disappointing. We had a lot of players looking forward to the year.”
In February, The Forum reported Heffron owed tens of thousands of dollars to a number of local entities, including the Moorhead School District and Fargodome.
Moorhead Assistant Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak said Heffron has paid half of the $14,700 he owed the school district. Fargodome general manager Rob Sobolik said Heffron still owes the Fargodome around $1,300.
“We’re looking at a lot of bad publicity, but we intend to pay,” Heffron told The Forum in February. “We’ll be back.”
The Forum was unsuccessful in its attempts to reach Heffron on Thursday.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.
Peterson’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com