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Legal threats heat up over Gay Games
City will pursue documentation for funds disbursed to the group that lost its license to produce the games

Vivian Goodman
Chief of Government Affairs for Mayor Jackson, Valarie McCall and President of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission David Gilbert
Courtesy of Vivian Goodman
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In The Region:
The Federation of Gay Games is demanding that Cleveland Synergy Foundation stop representing itself as the host of the games in Cleveland and Akron in 2014.

The San Francisco-based governing body for the games notified Synergy in July that it was terminating its license, a move Synergy is fighting.

That was about the time that the city of Cleveland was raising questions about Synergy's lagging fundraising and documentation of some of its expenses. The city had authorized more than $750,000 toward the games.

In a letter dated Monday, attorneys for the Federation demand that Synergy stop using any Gay Games logos and other materials, saying it risks infringing on copyrights. It also wants back private artwork loaned to Synergy by a federation official.

Synergy and its attorneys would not comment on the record. But it has said that it remains the legal licensee for the games.

Meanwhile, the City of Cleveland wants more documentation regarding the money it gave Synergy to bid for the games and begin staging them.

I talked earlier today with Cleveland's Chief of Government Affairs Valarie McCall and the President of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, David Gilbert.

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Wrap up of Gay Games dispute

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Hundreds of receipts, documents and e-mails involving the city of Cleveland, the Federation of Gay Games and the Cleveland Synergy Foundation document growing concerns in the spring and early summer over the foundation’s ability to host the games in Northeast Ohio in 2014. And now a letter from the attorney for the federation to the attorney for the Synergy Foundation demands that Synergy stop using any material related to the Gay Games and stop presenting itself as the host because that’s “factually incorrect and misleading.”
The federation pulled the plug on Synergy in early July, saying it had violated the licensing agreement to host the games. That’s about the same time Cleveland was raising questions about how little private money the foundation had raised for the games and about documentation for money the city had advanced to Synergy. Valerie McCall is chief of government affairs for Mayor Frank Jackson. She says she doesn’t want to exaggerate the problems, but the city must be cautious.
“These are taxpayers money and we have a fiduciary responsibility to the public to ensure the trust. … We live in Cuyahoga County right now and we’re going to ensure we do everything by the books, here.”
The Synergy Foundation attorney, John Climaco, would not comment on the record, but the group has insisted it is the legal licensee for the games, and has fulfilled it obligations.
The city fronted Synergy nearly 67-thousand games to win Northeast Ohio’s right to host the games and approved 700-thousand dollars more to get the games going.

Related WKSU Stories

Federation of Gay Games breaks with Synergy
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cleveland organizers of 2014 Gay Games are under scrutiny
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gay Games coming to Cleveland in 2014
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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