Prominent Racing Promoter Files Countersuit Seeking Over $20 Million In Damages Against The Government Of Aruba

February 28, 2001 / 7:04 am

MIAMI (March 28, 2001) — Two companies affiliated with famed racing promoter Ralph Sanchez, Motorsports Americas, Inc. (“MAI”), and Sanchez Motorsports Group, Inc. (“SMG”), today announced that they have filed a counterclaim in federal court in Miami against the Government of Aruba (“GOA”) seeking more than $20 million in compensatory damages stemming from the GOA’s deliberate termination and destruction of the Aruba Motorsports Complex project.

The counterclaim alleges that after aggressively recruiting the participation and financial support of Mr. Sanchez, MAI and SMG to develop the motorsports project in Aruba, the GOA, acting primarily through its Prime Minister Henny Eman, and Finance Minister Tico Croes, in a series of misrepresentations, broken promises and political maneuverings, brought about the termination and destruction of the project, even though MAI had secured major United States professional racing organizations to schedule races for the new Aruba facility.

The counterclaim filed by attorneys at Colson Hicks Eidson of Miami, attaches the testimony of two key high level former GOA officials involved in the project, Gilberto F. Croes, Junior, the former Minister of Transport, Communications, Utilities, and Sports and Michael De Meza, who was in charge of the project for the GOA, who both squarely lay the blame for the failure of the project on the “bad faith” and political maneuverings of Prime Minister Eman and Finance Minister Tico Croes.

Mr. De Meza’s and former Minister Junior Croes’ testimony describe how the Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Aruba undermined the race track project by breaking the very financial commitments the GOA had made only months before to induce Mr. Sanchez, MAI and SMG to participate in the joint venture to develop the project. Mr. De Meza and Minister Junior Croes declare that the GOA’s frequent reversal of course on the project and broken promises both “mistreated” and “harmed” Mr. Sanchez, MAI and SMG and destroyed the project. In his statement, Mr. De Meza states that the GOA’s misconduct left him without any choice but to resign as the GOA’s representative on the project.

In May of 2000 MAI and SMG commenced litigation in the country of Aruba against the GOA to recover damages arising out of the GOA’s wrongful termination of the motorsports project. The favorable testimony of the former Aruban Government officials arose out of those proceedings.

According to Roberto Martínez, legal counsel to Mr. Sanchez, MAI and SMG, with the law firm of Colson Hicks Eidson, approximately three weeks ago the GOA filed suit against Mr. Sanchez, MAI and SMG in federal court in Miami but delayed service of the complaint during which time a public relations firm it had hired in Miami attempted to put a favorable spin for the Miami and Aruban public and sought to smear Mr. Sanchez’ reputation in the motorsports industry.

“Mr. Sanchez looks forward to try this case before a court of law. Once all the facts have been placed into evidence before a jury, we are confident that the evidence will demonstrate that the Government of Aruba, as alleged in the counterclaim, failed to act in good faith and defrauded MAI and SMG, causing the failure of the Aruba race track project,” said Mr. Martínez. “Through the discovery process of our United States court system, the full extent of the GOA’s misconduct that destroyed this project, as alleged in the counterclaim, will finally be exposed to the light of day.”

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