Thursday, 23 June 2011

Lawsuit Filed By Austin Citizens Over GP Funding

A lawsuit has been filed by three Austin citizens who oppose state funding of the US Grand Prix scheduled for next year. One of the citizens is a teacher who lost her job in a recent round of spending cutbacks.

A grant of $25m public money from the Texas state's Major Event Trust Fund is due to be used to take care of the sanctioning fee owed to Bernie Ecclestone. The $25m is an annual payment starting July 31 2011 and continuing for the next nine years.

The payment was guaranteed to Bernie Ecclestone by Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs in a letter on May 10 last year. It is against Combs the suit has been filed to prevent “the unlawful plunder of public funds for promoters of a Formula One race at a time when the State of Texas claims it cannot afford to adequately fund essential services, such as its public education system.”

The legal suit has been filed against Combs on the basis that the proper processes relating to the Major Event Fund were not correctly followed, and that Combs was not then authorized to guarantee the payment to Ecclestone. The suit also states that "offering public funds after the site selection has been made is an illegal gift for private purpose.”

Also claimed is  "the incremental increase in state and local tax income derived from the F1 event – and which justifies the use of the METF funding – has not been properly calculated."
    

 
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