9/18 Dunston has his say

Former Cubs shortstop Shawon Dunston has objected in bankruptcy court to the sale of the team because it owes him money to pay for a college education. In Dunston’s handwritten note, he said, “I, Shawon Dunston, being a former player of the Chicago Cubs from 4-9-85 – 10-5-95/4-5-97 – 10-4-97 am entitled to college scholarship funds obligated to me by the Chicago Cubs. To date, these scholarship funds have not been paid to me.”

Dunston was the Cubs’ first overall pick in 1982, selected out of high school.

The bankrupt Tribune Co., which owns the Cubs, has reached a deal to sell the team to the Ricketts’ family for $845 million. The deal must be approved by a bankruptcy court, and Dunston wrote to the judge to object.

Dunston, 46, who works for the Giants part time, told the Chicago Tribune Thursday night that a financial adviser told him to write the note.

“It was just a formality,” Dunston said. “When I signed the contract [in 1982], they said they’d pay for my college tuition if I ever went. It was part of my signing bonus but I never used it. My adviser asked me about it, and told me to send a letter by the 16th [of September], so that’s what I did. I have nothing against the Cubs.”

According to the Cubs, the contractural clause was standard for top high school players and amounted to $8,000 to $10,000.

“We are aware of Mr. Dunston’s concerns and are working to reach a satisfactory conclusion on this issue as quickly as possible,” Tribune Co. said in a statement. “We do not believe this will have any impact on closing of the Cubs transaction.”

Dunston told the Chicago Tribune the team doesn’t owe him anything. He missed two seasons because of a back injury and the team paid him well, he said.

“I love the Cubs and I’ll always be a Cub,” Dunston said. “If anything, I owe them something.”

— Carrie Muskat

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