Hunter-Reay defeats Gentilozzi in court (Update)

UPDATE

Hunter-Reay has had to chase one shell company after another to collect the damages owed him.
Hunter-Reay has had to chase one shell company after another to collect the damages owed him.

With Paul Gantilozzi playing a shell game between companies, Ryan Hunter-Reay's lawyers have filed a new federal lawsuit in Michigan against his latest company, 3GT Racing.

It seems Gentilozzi keeps transferring assets from one company to another and Ryan Racing LLC is not able to collect on the $3.3 million in a judgment by Michigan Federal Judge Robert Holmes Bell against Gentilozzi and his RSR Racing business on Jan. 31.

RSR Racing had most of its assets transferred to 3GT, which is co-owned by Gentilozzi and his sons John and Anthony, fields a factory-sponsored two-car effort on behalf of auto manufacturer Lexus in IMSA's WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

"In the course of attempting to collect on the Federal Court Judgment, it has become apparent that while the First Federal Action was pending, Gentilozzi – just as he did when the entry of the State Court Judgment against Rocketsports was imminent – transferred assets of RSR Racing to 3GT Racing," Ryan Racing's legal representatives wrote in the complaint. Ryan has now filed a motion for $1.5M in attorney’s fees to be added to the already awarded $3.3M. If the court chooses to attach Ryan Racing’s legal expenses to the $3.3 million, Gentilozzi and 3GT could be responsible for over $5 million. If the judge gets really pissed off this could very likely happen.

In a statement made to RACER, the 3GT team questioned the veracity of the new lawsuit and asserted its belief that it will be dismissed: “During the litigation between Ryan Racing, LLC, RSR Racing and Paul Gentilozzi, Ryan Racing, LLC, has tried on multiple occasions to bring 3GT Racing into their lawsuit. On each of these occasions the court denied the request. A new lawsuit filed against 3GT Racing is simply another attempt by Ryan Racing to bring a claim against 3GT Racing when none exists. 3GT Racing is confident that the court will again tell Ryan Racing, LLC that its claims against 3GT Racing are moot and dismiss the lawsuit."

"At the same time as [Ryan Racing] filed the new lawsuit against 3GT, Paul Gentilozzi and RSR Racing posted a stay bond with the Court," the team wrote to RACER. "This bond will prevent [Ryan Racing] from attempting to collect on its judgment during the time that Gentilozzi and RSR Racing ask the court for a new trial because of procedural irregularities. It also assures 3GT will not have any interference in its operation.

In fact Gentilozzi filed a motion with the Court asking for a personal surety bond to be accepted to stop the collection effort. Ryan Racing has sixteen days from the filing Gentilozzi’s motion to file an answer and oppose the personal surety bond.

Paul Gentilozzi
Paul Gentilozzi

02/23/17 Late last week IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay was awarded $3,283.844.56 by Federal Judge Robert Holmes, in Grand Rapids, Michigan for a lawsuit against former Champ Car team owner Paul Gentilozzi and his racing team, RSR Racing on the grounds of wrongful termination and disparagement of character after Hunter-Reay, who drove for Gentilozzi's Michigan-based Rocketsports team during an abbreviated 2005 Champ Car season, but was terminated prematurely and had his name smeared in the media.

"This has been going on since 2007 and it's never something I wanted to be part of," Hunter-Reay told RACER. "After a bunch of delays, we finally had a federal court rule in our favor. Contracts were breached, a campaign to disparage my reputation took place and the consequence was it cratered my career. The unfortunate thing is how long this has dragged on."

To recoup monies owed to Hunter-Reay, the court ordered all of Gentilozzi's personal property and his primary business, Gentilozzi Real Estate, to be seized on Feb. 15. A writ to seize property owned by RSR Racing was also filed the same day. In addition to the court-ordered seizures, Hunter-Reay's lawyers are also seeking direct garnishment of Gentilozzi's wages to expedite the acquisition of the roughly $3.3 million owed to their client.

According to the complaint, Hunter-Reay's contract with Rocketsports did not allow the team to terminate his services early, and it also contained non-disparagement verbiage. After being removed from the Rocketsports Champ Car ride, Hunter-Reay's career and personal finances were severely impacted and it took several years before Hunter-Reay was able to get back on his feet and right his racing career.

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