Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Update on the Astros Wives Organization and the HAWC gala

We break our day-long radio silence temporarily to give you an update (all via Jose de Jesus Ortiz) on the issues with the Astros Wives Organization and the Houston Area Women's Center.

Note: All of these came in the form of tweets from Ortiz, combined to provide an easy-to-read paragraph. Click his timeline, if you feel like you need to verify this.

Astros spokesman reiterates foundation's focus is n at-risk youth and refurbishing baseball and softball fields. My LORD; Early story on WivesGate coming soon. I'm told Astros owner Jim Crane told Women's Center Wives Gala would be canceled in January. Judy Nichols, who helped run Gala since helping Nancy Caminiti and Patty Biggio put together 1st one, was told of cancellation in Jan. This year would have been the 24th Wives Gala, which has been chaired by the likes of Patty Biggio, Nancy Caminiti and Erica Bagwell. Judy Nichols told me the year Erica Bagwell was chair, the wives handed over a record $400,000 check to Houston Women's Center. Oh, one more juicy tidbit. Nichols actually has 4 years left on 5-year deal she signed with Astros Wives group (a 501-3C) to work on Gala. Nichols: "It’s very significant.The wives, most of them are gone, they’re just very hurt because they were all very proud of this event"

There will be more on the Chronicle from Ortiz soon. It's all we're focusing on today.

More from Ortiz:
To be clear, the Astros, through legal counsel, emailed Nichols on Feb. 7 reiterating club's decision not to hold Wives Gala anymore

And here's Ortiz's column on the whole fandango.  

CultureMap Houston has an update, with quotes from Meg Vailliancourt, executive director of the Astros Foundation:
There was no event canceled because there was no event planned because the wives group no longer had any wives in it. This change is not at all a reflection on the value of the Women's Center. We really respect and appreciate everything that the Women's Center does...We are staying focused on helping at-risk children . . . teaching them life skills.

Vaillancourt tells CultureMap that Jim Crane has pledged to raise $18m for the Astros Foundation, as opposed to the $4m that the Black Ties and Baseball Caps gala has raised in 23 years. I'll just present that without comment.