Michael Andretti's racing empire in trouble
The scion of one of America's greatest racing families and an accomplished competitor in his own right, Michael Andretti has developed a sprawling business empire. Included under the umbrella of his Andretti Autosport Holding Company are the Andretti Autosport racing teams and Andretti Sports Marketing (ASM). The former fields entries in series like IndyCar, Formula E, and Global Rallycross, as well as various open-wheel feeder series. It previously ran teams in now-defunct series like CART, A1GP, and the American Le Mans Series, as well.
The sports marketing operation, meanwhile, organizes and promotes events in some of those same series. According to noted racing publication Autosport, however, many of its prime events are being canceled. The Grand Prix of Baltimore was dropped off the IndyCar calendar last year, the Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA is rumored to follow suit (following a lawsuit filed by Andretti against the track owners in June), as is the Wisconsin 250 at the Milwaukee Mile. The Miami ePrix organized by ASM was also dropped from next season's Formula E calendar as well.
Now, two of the top officials at Andretti Sports Management have filed a lawsuit against the Andretti Autosport Holding Company. The suit alleges that Andretti Autosport is under water as well. It's been brought by former ASM president John Lopes and CFO Starke Taylor, who co-owned the company with Michael Andretti who serves as its chairman and CEO. According to Lopes and Taylor, the IndyCar team is insolvent, with $7 million in debt and only $2 million in assets. They further charge that Andretti mismanaged ASM.
Andretti vehemently refutes the allegations and vows to fight them in court. "This lawsuit is a disingenuous and self-serving attempt to benefit John Lopes and Starke Taylor at the expense of Andretti Autosport and its 120 employees," Andretti said in a statement received by Autosport. "The allegations by Lopes and Taylor will not be supported by the evidence and we will aggressively respond with the truth. My family has strived to earn an exemplary reputation in all facets of our personal and professional lives. We will not allow this reckless attempt at grabbing leverage to impact our family name."
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