A lawsuit filed by local promoter Tavo Hellmund claims he turned down the chance to run New Jersey’s Formula One race because of his obligations to the Circuit of the Americas.
Some believe New Jersey’s Grand Prix, slated for June, 2013, will be direct competition for Austin’s United States Grand Prix, scheduled for Nov. 18.
New Jersey’s race will be on a road course between Weehawken and West New York and will have the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop, a setting long coveted by Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone . The New Jersey race’s lead organizer, Leo Hindery Jr., could not be reached for comment Monday and neither could Hellmund on this matter.
Hellmund is suing investors and managers in the $300 million Circuit of the Americas in southeastern Travis County, claiming that he is still a part of the company but that he has not been paid since September. Investor Bobby Epstein said Saturday that Hellmund has not worked for the circuit in a long time
In his suit Hellmund acknowledges moving out of his office at 301 Congress Ave, on October 25, 2011, but maintains that was because he believed an $18 million buyout was supposed to be finalized at Ecclestone’s London office on that date.
According to Hellmund’s lawsuit he is now seeking to obtain Red McCombs’ 20 percent stake in the company for $8 million and that McCombs must decide whether to sell or buy Helllmund’s share by April 12, with the closing occurring no later than May 25.
Monday Hellmund released a statement: “I’ve been working for more than 20 years to bring a Formula 1 racing event to Austin, Texas, my hometown. I’m happy to say that my dream is close to becoming a reality. Last week, however, I was forced to file a legal action against Bobby Epstein and the group currently managing the construction of Austin’s Formula 1 track. I filed this legal action because I want to make sure this race goes forward and that it’s managed in the right way for its investors, for the people of Austin and for the State of Texas. I’m disappointed that Mr. Epstein has chosen to attack me personally instead of honoring his agreements with me and others. But as one of the owners of Austin’s Formula 1 event, I remain committed to the success of this race."
Hellmund is represented by Feazell & Tighe and Nix, Patterson & Roach. According to its website, the latter firm was one of five used by the state of Texas in obtaining a then-record $17 billion settlement from the tobacco industry in 1995.
Circuit of the Americas officials responded to Hellmund suit by saying, “We are creating the most incredible entertainment and racing venue in the world, construction is on schedule and seat license and suite sales are very strong." The Statesman