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CotA seeks arbitration in Hellmund dispute

The Circuit of the Americas has taken action in a bid to put an end to the war of words with former director Tavo Hellmund.
Further to the report earlier this week that revealed the acrimony behind the scenes of the latest bid to host F1 in the United States of America, circuit management at the currently under-construction Austin facility have various legal motions in a bid to end the wrangling with project originator Tavo Hellmund.

A statement issued by the Circuit of The Americas confirmed that it had filed an amended plea in abatement and motion to compel arbitration with the District Court of Travis County, while voluntarily agreeing to have the temporary sealing order vacated in the current legal dispute with Hellmund and his various entities.

The move will release to the public information that had been temporarily sealed by the court until the presiding judge had the opportunity to rule on whether the dispute would be resolved through binding arbitration. As explained in the pleadings, and clearly stated in the Accelerator Holdings partnership agreement signed by circuit investors and Hellmund in December 2010, 'any controversy, claim or dispute between or among the company and any member or among members arising out of or relating to this company agreement or any other matters pertaining to the company, shall be settled by binding arbitration.”

Circuit chairman Robert Epstein reiterated the company's desire to put an end to the dispute with Hellmund and Hellmund's various entities through binding arbitration, as was agreed to in writing by Hellmund and all parties subject to minority partner Accelerator's company agreement.

“Our intent from the beginning has been to resolve this matter efficiently through the agreed-upon binding arbitration process, and we feel that unsealing the court records moves us closer to this goal,” Epstein stated.

Circuit of The America's attorney Michael Whellan also noted that the stance Hellmund is taking in the dispute is somewhat shaky.

“We believe the facts made public through today's filing strongly support our position that Mr Hellmund's claims and accusations - and his misrepresentations to circuit representatives and the public about his ability to assign F1 race contracts - only serve to undermine his case," he stated, “We believe the tactics Mr Hellmund and his legal team have employed to date are meant to purposely generate negative public sentiment about Circuit of The Americas in hopes of extracting a large settlement. Unfortunately, we do not expect these tactics to end anytime soon. Nonetheless, we are prepared to arbitrate this dispute as the parties have agreed to do in writing.”

CotA investor Red McCombs recently claimed that the venue is approaching 60 per cent completion as it gears up to host its first F1 event in November.

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Steve Huckaby

May 25, 2012 3:53 PM

Recognize that we think of this like fans that just want to see good racing at a new track. They think of this as a for profit business venture that just happens to involve racing. And no matter what business you're talking about, when money is involved, big money in this case, the "can't we all just get along" approach is a pipedream. Like Rick, i'm just praying they don't screw this up.

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