|The shit is hitting the fan in Boston|
The Massachusetts Port Authority is taking legal action against the Grand Prix of Boston, the first government agency to go after the canceled IndyCar race that left a trail of angry ticket-holders and sponsors owed millions of dollars by the debt-ridden promoters.
Massport, which was stuck with 2,000 massive concrete barriers it was storing for the Labor Day weekend race, filed suit against the Grand Prix in Suffolk Superior Court late yesterday to try to get rid of the unsightly slabs sitting on prime waterfront land.
The move came as Attorney General Maura Healey decides whether to file suit against the Grand Prix to pay back about $1.7 million in refunds to jilted ticket-holders.
The promoters and their attorneys met a deadline set by Healey yesterday to submit some kind of reimbursement plan but it’s unclear whether it will satisfy the state’s top law enforcer. Healey’s office wouldn’t reveal any details of the promoters’ plans.
“We have received some information and plans that we are currently reviewing and we will be prepared to take whatever action is necessary to make sure ticket holders are made whole," Healey’s communications director, Cyndi Roy Gonzalez, said in a statement.
Sources said the AG’s office will likely decide within the next few days what action to take. Healey issued subpoenas for financial information from the Grand Prix and the national IndyCar organization in a bid to force the groups to come up with the refund money.
The Herald reported last month that the Grand Prix was broke and unable to pay back most of the refunds owed ticket holders. Sources said the Grand Prix’s former CEO, John Casey, has asked vendors to help out either paying back money they earned for the failed race or forgiving any outstanding bills. Casey is also hitting up Grand Prix investors for dough.
Massport signed an agreement with the Grand Prix to store the 9,400 barriers for $14,000 a month, but officials said they stopped paying that in April. The agency made the deal even though the parcel of land where the barriers are sitting is legally designated for maritime uses only. A Massport spokesman yesterday would not comment on the lawsuit.
The agency has demanded that Grand Prix get rid of the ugly slabs, but the promoters have closed down and can’t pay for removal. The barriers, which were supposed to line the IndyCar course in the Seaport District, were specially built by a Maine concrete company. The owner of the barrier manufacturer told the Herald he would not take them back, and he still hadn’t been paid by the Grand Prix for many of the barriers.
Moving the barriers off Massport’s waterfront land would likely be expensive and finding a place to put them could be even problematic. Casey has hinted that he may sell the barriers to another motorsports promoter looking to hold a Formula E race in the Boston area. Formula E uses electric-powered race cars.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh has ruled out holding any kind of race with Casey as a promoter. Joe Battenfeld/Boston Herald