Posts Tagged ‘Thunderdrome’

Thunderdrome threatens legal action against this m-bike

Friday, October 15th, 2010

We’ve just received this threat of legal action via email for our post on the Thunderdrome event.

The gist of the email:

I am legal counsel for the organizers of the Detroit Thunderdrome Event scheduled to be held on October 16, 2010.   It has come to their attention that you have posted the following false, defamatory statements on your website regarding the event:

While you may have your own motives for trying to interfere with this event, or cause its participants to seek refunds or avoid the event, we take this matter very seriously.  First, your article publishes that the organizers have made false statements to the participants and the public.  No false statements were made.  Also, your post states that the event “serves beer.”  Your statement is factually false.  No beer will be “served” at this event.  You state that the organizers do not have liability insurance for their event.  This is also false.

Your public statements were made to intentionally portray the event organizers as acting irresponsibly, fraudulently and illegally.  Those statements impugn the integrity of their business reputations.   In my opinion, your statements are slanderous per se and could subject you to legal liability.  Our belief is that your posting was intentionally made to attempt to cause participants, registered and still considering arriving at the event on event day, to avoid this event and look with impunity upon future events to be held by these organizers.

What is truly unfortunate here is that you have attempted to interfere with, and have denigrated, an event that was organized, planned and paid for by people who acted solely to hold an event to benefit Detroit and provide some fun to its participants.

This message is a formal demand to immediately remove your defamatory posting and publish an equivalent retraction.  If you choose not to do so, legal action may be taken against you.

Govern yourself accordingly.

What’s interesting about this email is they claim we’re “trying to interfere” with the event when in fact we helped. As we mentioned, we provided them with the Recreation Department contact and some tips on where to look for insurance. We passed along information from the Wolverine Cycling Club about their structural concerns regarding the track.

We have the emails from both the organizers and recreation department. We reported the facts.

Apparently now we need to seek legal counsel ourselves.

Detroit bike racing: a hit and a miss

Friday, October 15th, 2010

The Hit — Mad Anthony Cyclocross

October 23rd is the second annual Mad Anthony Cyclcross race at historic Fort Wayne on the Detroit River.

The course features the usual cyclocross mix of grass, dirt and pavement,BUT there are also “150-year old cobblestones as well as the famous ‘TUNNEL OF TORTURE’, a 25 meter tunnel thru the walls of the old fort.” Sounds painful.

Last year’s race was super successful as this video shows.

The Miss — Thunderdrome

This was a great idea — bring some racing back to the city of Detroit’s famous Dorais velodrome. The promoters and Mower Gang have put in some serious effort to repair the old concrete track.

Unfortunately they didn’t put that same effort into getting approval from the city’s Recreation Department. The event is a “no go” according to the Recreation Department.

We thought it was odd to read about this event in the Detroit News when the promoters hadn’t yet spoken with the city about having it — and the event was less than three weeks away. Also, their claims of not being able to “reach the Detroit parks department” rang hollow. Detroit’s mayor, directors, and city staff had never been more available during the previous couple weeks with the Detroit Strategic Framework public meetings.

We tried helping out by emailing our Recreation Department contact information to the promoters. We also sent them some leads on event insurance since they didn’t have any.

As it turned out, Alicia Minter, Director of the Recreation Department had read the same Detroit News article and contacted the promoters to “assist them on event requirements.”

Yesterday, we sent another email to the promoter to make sure they’d gotten everything worked out with the city. Their response: “Yes, we met the city’s event insurance policies and we are all set.”

Not true.

According to the Recreation Department, “They have not met the requirements.” And the deadline for those were yesterday.

Minter responded, “It’s a no go. Did not receive any information.”

UPDATE, 10/15/2010 at 12:18pm: We just got an email from the Recreation Department saying that the event is now a go.

It’s really a shame the event promoters didn’t plan this properly from the beginning, work with the city, and have a successful event like Mad Anthony. They tried building and hyping an event before building a good foundation — ironically one of the problems with the velodrome, too.

Someone mentioned that it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission, but this isn’t about being right or wrong. It’s really about liability, which is pretty significant for motorized competitive racing that charges fees and serves beer.

In a city that is self-insured, the money to defend lawsuits and pay settlements comes from the same fund that pays for police and fire. This city — actually any city — is in no position to increase their risk.

People don’t sue for forgiveness.

UPDATE, 10/15/2010 at 12:18pm: We just got an email from the Recreation Department saying that the event is now a go.