In a lawsuit filed Thursday, Cleveland
Synergy Foundation claims the City of Cleveland and the Federation of
Gay Games (FGG) conspired to knock out Synergy from acting as host of
Gay Games 2014.
On July 6, the FGG severed its
relationship with Synergy, a non-profit group formed specifically to
attract the Olympic-style event to Cleveland.
Kelly Stevens, an FGG spokesman, told
Cleveland daily the Cleveland Plain Dealer that it revoked
Synergy's license to host the games because it had failed to meet
certain reporting requirements and had worked on events other than
the Gay Games. Stevens also said the group remains committed to
holding the event in Cleveland.
But, according to documents filed in
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, the FGG would consider moving the
2014 games to runner-up city Washington, D.C. “if Cleveland fails
to meet a set of conditions by Dec. 15, including the creation of a
new gay-run organization to produce the games.”
The city, however, insists it will meet
The lawsuit claims that the FGG and the
city conspired to lock out Synergy by cutting off funds to the
organization. Those funds were being distributed to Synergy under an
Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) approved by City Council. But
Synergy claims the city shifted its reporting requirements and
eventually denied any further disbursements in July.
Also listed in the lawsuit are the
Greater Cleveland Sports Commission (GCSC) and Valarie McCall, chief
of government affairs for Mayor Frank Jackson.
The FGG did not recognize Synergy at
the eighth iteration of the games held last month in Cologne,
Germany. Instead, a delegation that included former Synergy board
member McCall, representatives from the GCSC and a second former
Synergy board member, Jon Pinney, were recognized by the
Synergy claims it was harmed by the
FGG's “intentional procurement of the City of Cleveland's breach of
the UDAG Contract,” which, it says, was done “with actual malice
and bad faith.”
The group is asking the court to force
the FGG to reinstate it as the host of the games.
“Synergy desires that this Court
determine the parties' rights and responsibilities under the terms of
the Licensing Agreement and declare that the Licensing Agreement
remains in effect and that Synergy remains the exclusive 'Host' of
the 2014 Gay Games IX.”
The city has said it will
“aggressively” defend itself in court.