by Kyle Swenson
The fracas over the 2014 Gay Games took another twist this week. The local group initially tasked with planning the games filed a lawsuit on Wednesday alleging the city and international planners are in cahoots to squeeze them out of the picture. Conspiracies afoot, dear readers . . .
Things went south between the Cleveland Synergy Foundation — the local group that won the bid for the games — and the Federation of Gay Games mid-summer; although no one would comment on the situation at the time — besides reinforcing everyone’s “commitment to keeping the games in Cleveland, etc.” — reports suggested the local team had in some way defaulted on its contractual obligation to the international group.
In the suit, Synergy says these allegations are baseless, that they’ve met all their requirements. However, in this morning’s Plain Dealer, FGG spokesman Kelly Stevens — previously mum on the details — says Synergy’s license “was revoked July 6 because it had failed to meet its reporting requirements and had worked on events other than the Gay Games in breach of its contract.” The latter allegation — that Synergy was tinkering around with other events on the side — is a new development.
Synergy’s suit — a shotgun blast at the city, FGG, the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Jackson Administration player Valarie McCall — alleges a City Hall intrigue: specifically, it says McCall twofaced Synergy, sitting on their board while at the same time working with FGG to toss the local group off the project. Says the PD: “The lawsuit claims that FGG wanted to cancel Synergy's contract so it could receive a greater share of sponsorship money and other funds than its licensing agreement with Synergy permitted.”
There is a sense of pressure here. Since Synergy lost its contract, the city has until December 15 to cook up a new organizing group from the gay community to run things on the local front. If it doesn’t, the suit says the FGG might pick up and move the 2014 games to D.C. City officials have said a new group would be in place by then.