In response to the increasing legal situation surrounding October\’s $750,000 Las Vegas World Invitational grand prix, the leaders of the U.S. Equestrian Federation have today (Dec. 21) issued a statement regarding their approval of the event.
Many of the riders who placed in events there have not received their checks or have found their prize-money checks non-negotiable. So Rodrigo Pessoa, who won the $250,00 first prize, has stated that he and other riders are planning to file a lawsuit against the show\’s organizers, Equus Entertainment.
The USEF statement says that its relevant committees considered the organizer\’s application for three years before approving it. Their concerns were related to safety and to certifying that the $1 million in total event prize money would be available.
The statement says: “The USEF approved the event after all conditions set forth by the USEF were met by the LVWI organizers, including a $1,050,000 letter of credit from Icon International Inc. as security for the prize money and the officials\’ fees. This was the first time, to the knowledge of the USEF, that a letter of credit had been required from an organizer as a condition of date approval.
“The USEF made clear to the organizers that the letter of credit was to be specifically for this purpose. This understanding was confirmed to the USEF by Icon International, Inc., which had created the letter of credit, on behalf of the LVWI organizers. Without this, the USEF would never have granted the organizers the right to conduct this event as an FEI grand prix and would never have put the event forward to the FEI for inclusion on its 2005 calendar.
“All facts and issues concerning this event and the existence of the letter of credit were provided to the FEI prior to its approval of the event. No other disclosures or alterations to the letter of credit were provided to USEF by the organizers or Icon. USEF finds it unconscionable that the letter of credit was allowed to expire before riders and officials were paid.
“The USEF is aggressively investigating the situation from both a state and federal legal perspective, as well as from an administrative perspective, and is doing everything possible to assist the riders and officials in obtaining payment.”