Motorsports Venues - Lawsuit Filed Against Circuit Of The America's Organizers
Austin, June 23, 2011: Three Austin plaintiffs have filed suit to prevent Texas Comptroller Susan Combs from paying $25 million in public funds to Circuit Of The America's (COTA) organizers.
Plaintiffs Ewa Siwak a Bowie High School teacher, Del Valle School Board Trustee Richard Franklin and accountant Richard Viktorin are represented by Bill Aleshire, a former Austin/Travis County tax collector and Commissioners Court judge. Aleshire has been a strong opponent of using public money to support the development of the new venue. Viktorin, representing a local watch-dog organization called Audits in the Public Interest, has been equally unimpressed by plans to use public money for the planned facility.
According to Aleshire, the lawsuit "strikes at the heart of the issue of whether Formula One even qualifies under the requirements of Texas law for such public funding."
Neither the circuit's developers, nor local USGP representatives were available at the time of the filing. However, local principal Tavo Hellmund has said in the past that public funds would be necessary to complete the venue project in time to meet its projected F1 date.
The latest legal issue is yet another round in an all-out fight between negatively-disposed local interests versus COTA organizers, and centers on how to absorb the significant costs of the Herman Telke designed venue. The basis for the lawsuit focuses on what is referred to as the Comptrollers Major Events Trust Fund. The program is an economic incentive program typically leveraged to market the State of Texas as a potentially revenue-neutral sports attraction.