The deeper we dig into this story, the worse it looks for the COTA boys:http://www.autoweek.com/article/20120310/F1/120319997
AutoWeek's Steven Cole Smith knocks another one out of the park.
Looks like COTA was trying an end-around on an already great contract in an attempt to sidestep Hellmund. Sound familiar? It gets better. It seems Epstein even went so far as to lie directly to Schwantz, claiming that he had offered Hellmund $10M for the MotoGP rights. Schwantz directly refutes that claim.
[quote]So, as for MotoGP in Austin: An Autoweek request for an update from Schwantz was answered by a copy of a letter that Schwantz's personal assistant says was sent to COTA president Steve Sexton on Feb. 17.
In the letter, Schwantz said he spoke to Carmelo Ezpeleta, who is essentially the Bernie Ecclestone of MotoGP. The letter said Ezpeleta told Schwantz that Sexton had contacted the MotoGP promoter about “obtaining rights to a MotoGP race at Circuit of the Americas.” Schwantz points out in writing that the rights have already been granted—to Hellmund, Schwantz and Full Throttle—and therefore, such inquiries should be made to them, not Ezpeleta.
Perhaps even more notable, though, is that Schwantz claims Sexton indicated to Ezpeleta that COTA has attempted to buy the rights from Hellmund and Schwantz, and that they declined the offer, in an attempt to “overcharge Circuit of the Americas in exchange for transferring these rights,”
Schwantz said in the letter. Schwantz wrote that COTA executives have variously said that COTA offered Full Throttle from $4 million to $17 million for the rights, “but that Mr. Hellmund declined. Bobby Epstein,” the chief financier of the project, “repeated these claims himself, directly telling me that he offered $10 million to Mr. Hellmund for these rights. You, I and Mr. Ezpeleta all know that such offers have not been made to Mr. Hellmund,” Schwantz wrote in the letter.Schwantz also wrote that the “actions and misrepresentations made by Circuit of the Americas appear to be an attempt to interfere with the contractual relationships that currently exist between us and Full Throttle,” and that “any further attempts to interfere with the contractual relationships between the parties will be referred to my legal counsel.”
Bottom line, then: Schwantz and presumably Hellmund are claiming that COTA is trying an end run to get MotoGP rights, rather than honor the existing contract, which Schwantz wrote was “the most promoter-friendly contract in MotoGP racing,” and which, at the April 2011 announcement, seemed to please everyone within the organization.
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