Grand Prix of Boston bankruptcy delays AG Healey from filing lawsuit

Take a bow Boston. Take a bow. You bankrupted the promoter and now you will get nothing.

Grand Prix of Boston CEO John Casey paid himself $423,000 and a consulting firm run by two former advisers to Mayor Martin J. Walsh pocketed $123,000 from the IndyCar race 
before it crashed and left ticket buyers out nearly 
$2 million, according to a bankruptcy claim filed by race promoters yesterday.

The court filing also shows that the Grand Prix made a $1,000 donation to Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito last November while Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration was negotiating agreements with the promoters. Former CEO Mark Perrone made $130,600 in salary and consulting fees while course designer Tony Cotman was paid $166,000, according to the bankruptcy filing.

The bankruptcy filing effectively blocks Attorney General Maura Healey from filing a new lawsuit against the Grand Prix to get back refunds for the several thousand ticket holders owed a total of $1.7 million. But a Healey spokeswoman insisted the bankruptcy will not stop them from investigating why the race went broke and will continue to insist on refunds.

The long list of creditors still owed money from the IndyCar fiasco include the national IndyCar organization, which is demanding $4.2 million from the Grand Prix for breaking its contract to hold the Labor Day weekend race. Casey himself is asking for $40,000 for salary, health insurance and a car payment for the month of June. He is the only creditor listed as a “priority" claim.

The firm CK Strategies, run by former Walsh campaign adviser Chris Keohan and former Walsh spokeswoman Kate Norton, was paid $123,000.

The bankruptcy claim raises new questions about whether the Grand Prix had the financial resources to hold the event, reporting it owes a total of nearly $9 million to a long list of creditors, including ticket holders.

Casey canceled the race in late April, claiming he could no longer work with the city. But the Grand Prix is now claiming that the city and IndyCar pulled the plug on the race.

“BGP worked extremely hard to create and bring a first class race event to the city of Boston," the race organizers said in a statement issued by Trevi Communications yesterday. “However, due to events and circumstances beyond BGP’s control, the race event was canceled by the city and IndyCar without regard to the impact on ticket holders and other affected parties."

Healey had threatened to file suit against the Grand Prix but the bankruptcy puts a hold on any new court actions.

“Boston Grand Prix’s bankruptcy filing today does nothing to prevent us from our continued efforts to find out where the money ticket holders spent has gone and to aggressively pursue a refund for those consumers," spokeswoman Cyndi Roy Gonzalez said. “We will continue to seek information from all parties involved and take whatever action is necessary to get the money back for those who purchased tickets."

Among others looking for their money back are sponsors who ponied up hundreds of thousands each to have their names appear on promotional items.

They include Global Partners in Waltham, which paid $245,000 for a sponsorship; Bridgestone Tires, $223,000; Herb Chambers, $100,000; New Balance, $50,000; and Seaport tech company LogMeIn, $390,000.

Additionally, George Roberts and Co. in Maine wants $645,000 for casting 1,200 concrete barriers — 1,100 of which are now sitting in a Massport parking lot — that were to be used to create the course for the now-defunct race.

“BGP hopes that the present filing may provide a forum for an orderly disposition and administration of claims to provide as full a 
return as possible to the ticket holders and all other impacted parties," the race organizers’ statement said. “Again, BGP regrets having to take this step, but hopes it can be a move in the right direction to minimize the impact on the ticket holders and other affected parties." Joe Battenfeld/Boston Herald

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