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August 12, 2011

Gay Games suit is settled; city to pay Synergy $475K

Cleveland--The end of July saw the end of the Cleveland Synergy Foundation’s lawsuit against the Federation of Gay Games and other parties involved in the removal of Synergy’s license to produce the 2014 Games.

According to Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas dockets, dismissals were filed on July 29 and August 1.

An August 9 Cleveland Synergy Foundation release announced “the resolution of issues relating to hosting rights of the 2014 Gay Games.”

Details of the settlement are confidential for most of the defendants, but since the city of Cleveland is subject to public information laws, it was revealed that the city will pay Synergy $475,000.

Synergy filed their suit on September 2, 2010, two months after the Federation of Gay Games notified them that their contract was being terminated.

The Federation said that Cleveland, Akron, their convention and visitors bureaus, the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and the LGBT community had until the end of 2010 to organize a new committee to produce the Gay Games.

Shortly afterward, the Cleveland Special Events Corporation was given the license for the 2014 Gay Games.

The Federation said that Synergy had failed to properly file financial documents, bringing them into breach of contract. Synergy alleged that the Federation and the other defendants conspired to take the license from Synergy to get more money and have closer control for the Federation and the other entities involved.

Initial concerns that a lengthy court case might cause the Federation to move the 2014 Games to one of the other finalist cities, Boston or Washington, D.C., never materialized. The court never issued an injunction barring the Special Events Corp., who were added to the suit, from beginning work on the Games here.

A complete analysis of the suit when it was filed is available at www.gaypeopleschronicle.com/stories10/september/0910103.htm.

An August 9 release from Synergy expressed their continued support for the 2014 Games.

“Cleveland Synergy Foundation hopes and believes that Cleveland Special Events Corporation will execute the original vision of the Cleveland Synergy Foundation and the other local partners who brought the games to Cleveland+Akron, as presented in Cologne in 2009,” the release reads. “While Clevleand Synergy Foundation will remain supportive of Cleveland Special Events Corporation and the 2014 Gay Games, it will continue its growing legacy of establishing multiple sport, cultural and philanthropic events designed to enrich the Northeast Ohio - and global - GLBT community such as SynergyFest which took place July 29-31, 2011.”

A website, StolenGayGames.com, as well as anonymous emails sent to the Gay People’s Chronicle, contained a number of Synergy depositions and motions. While the release of such documents--not available on the Common Pleas Court’s website--is not illegal, an outside attorney asked about the leak posited that it might be questionable ethically, and that Judge Michael Russo could have issued a gag order.

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