October 27, 2011 at 1:30 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Multi-million dollar Gay Games lawsuit settled

A Cleveland-based foundation that beat LGBT sports groups in D.C. and Boston for the right to host the 2014 Gay Games agreed to an out-of-court settlement in July that ended its multi-million dollar lawsuit against the City of Cleveland, the Federation of Gay Games and other Cleveland-based sports groups.

The Cleveland Synergy Foundation filed the lawsuit in the fall of 2010 after the FGG revoked its contract to organize the Gay Games on grounds that it allegedly failed to meet the terms of the contract. The foundation denied it had breached its contract and accused the FGG and Cleveland city officials of conspiring to break a legal and binding contract calling for the Synergy Foundation to organize and operate the games in the Cleveland-Akron area.

The Gay Games is an international LGBT sports competition modeled after the Olympics and held every four years. It usually draws more than 10,000 athletes and spectators to the host city.

Due to public reporting requirements, Cleveland officials disclosed that the city paid $475,000 to Cleveland Synergy Foundation to settle the lawsuit. But the settlement terms with the other parties named in the suit, including the Federation of Gay Games, were sealed by the court at the request of the parties involved.

A spokesperson for the FGG declined to disclose what, if anything, the non-profit LGBT sports organization paid as part of the settlement.

“The Federation of Gay Games confirms all litigation involving the Gay Games has been terminated and the parties have resolved to ensure that the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland-Akron are a success,” said FGG spokesperson Kelley Stevens in a statement to the Blade.

At the time it ousted Cleveland Synergy the FGG hired a new entity called the Cleveland Special Events Corporation to organize and operate the 2014 Gay Games.

In its 2010 finance report to the IRS, which is required for all non-profit, tax-exempt groups, the FGG reported that it incurred a deficit of $55,349, with $99,641 in revenue and $154,349 in expenses. FGG spokesperson Stevens did not respond to a question asking if expenses associated with the lawsuit were responsible for some or the entire 2010 deficit.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

1 Comment
  • The amount of the settlement from just the city of Clevland alone indicates where the fault was to be found in the litigation and also supports the allegations of the Cleveland Synergy Foundation. The recent posted picture on the FGG’s own web site showing two straight people and one gay person presenting to the FGG gives an indication of what the problem is with who is really running the Cleveland Special Events Corporation. Depostions from the involved parties can still be found at “stolengaygames.com”. David Gilbert, who made homophobic comments attested to in those depostions, to be part of running the Games at all seems wrong.

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2018. All rights reserved.
Blade Blast

Get the latest LGBTQ news to your inbox every Thursday!