A test session for Kyle Busch alleged a violation of curfew; Track says they had permission; Other issues include payments
Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville and Speedway Motorsports, Inc. are in the middle if attempting to gather funds from Metro. Those funds will be spent on capital investments in the Nashville short track. Overall, these funds will go toward the track with the idea of bringing NASCAR back to the speedway.
A request for $56 million was recently rejected. Now, other issues have surfaced regarding communications between the Board of Fair Commissioners and Formosa Productions.
On April 8th, Fair Board commission hand delivered a letter to the Formosa family stating they were exercising a clause in the contract regarding breach. The letter noted three items:
Curfew: The board claimed the track broke it’s strict curfew of 7pm. Cars are not allowed on the track beyond that time on a school night.
Unpaid concessions: Also, the board claimed unpaid concession commissions. The board claims that track promoters owe $31,930 from the previous year.
Unpaid rent for 2019: Additionally, the board announced late office rent payments for the first three months on 2019. However, this office payment issue was resolved before the letter arrived. An invoice was sent on April 4th and a check was returned on the same day.
“To suggest that Formosa Productions breached its contract … that’s a serious allegation and I don’t believe that’s well-founded,” said Jim Roberts, the Formosa’s attorney as he met with the Board of Fair Commissioners.
“We’ve been working for them for many months to get that resolved. Obviously, we need some assurance for revenue that is due to come in,” the board stated.
“I’m not certain the Board is aware. But, actually the contract signed, does not state when those payments are due to be made. There’s nothing in the contract that I can find. So, I would submit that it’s impossible to be in breach of a contract when there were no payments scheduled to be filed,” attorney Jim Roberts addressed the concession payments.
The Formosa family are due to promote the speedway on a five year contract which was signed last year. They’ll operate the track from March 22, 2018 to March 22, 2023.
“Arguably, those payments aren’t due until that final date. Now, that’s not how things are normally done. But, let’s just be honest, that’s what the contract, as drafted, says.”
“My understand is there has been some confusion about the concessions. The folks are Formosa Productions did not realize that had been incorporated into the contract.”
“But, as far as they knew, they were not even required to even pay those. Partially because they’ve never even received an invoice until last week.”
“To suggest that they’re in breach of the contract because they didn’t pay an invoice that hadn’t been submitted… I think you should take that into consideration.”
The Formosas reached out to Scott Wallace asking him to provide invoices when they received the letter on April 8th. The next day, those invoices were provided by email.
“The problem is, those invoices don’t total the amount that is in the letter. As of April 9th, we’ve got a problem. We don’t know how much is owed.”
$31,930.45 is claimed due in the letter. The total of the invoices sent add up to $29,430.34.
“Assuming they owe it, having to pay it all in one lump sum might be a bit of a burden. Perhaps there would be some consideration given and perhaps stretched out.”
“I’m not suggesting they should wait until March of 2023 to pay these amounts. But, certainly the contract would allow that. I don’t think that’s a good way to do business. But, that’s what the contract says,” Roberts concluded.
The board stated that the invoices were sent for 15% commissions from race events. However, those invoices were sent to an employee that no longer worked at the speedway.
The Fair Board stated that the track violated curfew on March 10, 2018 and again on March 27, 2019. As stated earlier, on-track activity needs to be concluded by 7pm on any school night.
March 10, 2018: “I’ve spoken with Mr. Tony Formosa and Claire Formosa and no one seems to have any idea what that event was.”
March 28th, 2019: The All-American 400 was rained out in 2018 and re-scheduled for 2019.
Kyle Busch engaged in a private test session at the track the night of March 27th.
“I’m not probably as big of a NASCAR fan as I should be. But, Mr. Busch I do know is a very famous, well-known and popular driver who would drive revenues and drive attendance to the All-American 400. Even more than it would normally. It might even sell out the event to have him participate,” Jim Roberts addressed the curfew complaint.
Claire Formosa was not at the track that night. However, she did drive to the track to shut down the test which did extend beyond curfew.
Yet, the Formosas were under the impression that they were allowed to extend curfew that night upon approval from the local school and neighborhood..
“Claire spoke with the Board and they thought they had an arrangement. That is is they went and got permission from the principal of the school across the street and the neighborhood association that there would be no problem with a later track running time.”
“That was done. There is a letter from the principal and neighborhood association. They simply thought there had been an approval of this. There may have been a misunderstanding.”
“The way this contract is written specifically allows for modifications. I don’t believe there was any intention to violate the contract,” Roberts added.
Jason Bergeron stated the test went on to 9pm that night. Claire Formosa stated that she drove to the track and shut it down herself at 8:17pm.
Beyond the two dates notes above, the Board noted several times during the meeting that the track has violated curfew multiple times. The track is unsure of when those additional violations would be.
“I’ll take full responsibility on is the issue of March 27th and say it was a communication issue between myself and my staff. But, it’s been stated several times that it’s a continues thing. I would just like to know when that is so I can address those issues myself,” Claire Formosa concluded.
It should be noted that the Fair Board clearly isn’t trying to hold the speedway back in any way regarding these issues. They noted they are happy to work with the track and help it succeed.
There just appears to be a few communication issues between the Board and the track. The two parties are now due to sit down and iron out those communication issues to prevent problems like these in the future.