Chicago's Jackie Robinson West Little League team on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Little League International seeking answers after the league stripped the team of its championship title earlier this year.
The lawsuit, filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, aims to force Little League to “provide the information it would not voluntarily disclose” to JRW.
According to an investigative report from Henderson Adam LLC, the group representing JRW, the law firm sent Little League a series of letters asking for “all relevant information” surrounding the league’s decision, but Little League “refused to be transparent.”
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“Given the refusal by Little League to meet with JRW, its failure to provide notice and the opportunity to be heard, and its refusal to be transparent and provide material information regarding its decision to strip JRW of the title, JRW was compelled to file suit,” the report states.
Little League in February stripped the young team of its Little League World Series national championship title after officials determined the South Side team added top suburban players in violation of residency rules.
"This is a heartbreaking decision," Little League International President and CEO Stephen D. Keener said in a statement. "What these players accomplished on the field and the memories and lessons they have learned during the Little League World Series tournament is something the kids can be proud of, but it is unfortunate that the actions of adults have led to this outcome."
In addition, team manager Darold Butler was suspended from Little League activity and Illinois District 4 Administrator Michael Kelly was removed from his position, Little League International spokesman Brian McClintock said in a statement.
McClintock said an investigation revealed that Butler and Kelly knowingly violated rules by using a falsified boundary map for their 2014 tournament and used players who didn't qualify because they lived outside the team's actual boundaries.
Jackie Robinson West officials have previously denied the team violated any residency rules or recruited outside players.
Jackie Robinson West has set up a fundraising page to raise money for the team.
In a statement, Little League International said it hadn't had the opportunity to review the petition and said it would be inappropriate to comment. Still, the League said its rules and regulations allow it to impose any penalties it deems appropriate.