Thursday, December 23, 2010

Joplin city officials to meet Monday with Reinke over Mother Road Marathon dispute

City of Joplin officials will meet with Dean Reinke of  Reinke Sports Group Monday, December 27 in an attempt to come to a settlement in a dispute that has wound up in federal court.

Documents filed Wednesday in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri indicate a decision on scheduling hearings in the court case has been delayed until after the meeting.

The city filed the lawsuit against Reinke, who marketed the inaugural Mother Road Marathon, claiming that he was continuing to solicit entrants for the event though the city had severed ties with him. In his response filed earlier this month in federal court, Reinke says the city has no right to the name Mother Road Marathon and he has just as much right to promote the event as the city.

The reasons why the city of Joplin decided not to renew its verbal agreement with Reinke Sports Group to promote the Mother Road Marathon were spelled out in court documents filed earlier this month.

Along with a motion for a permanent injunction barring the Reinke group from claiming any involvement with the marathon, the city attached a letter dated November 5 from former Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Vince Lindstrom to Dean Reinke, in which Lindstrom harshly criticizes the work Reinke did with the inaugural event:

As I explained in my e-mail right after the Mother Road Marathon, it is imperative that you do not include the Mother Road Marathon or Half in your 2011 promotions.

The committee has met, and it was a unanimous decision that we would not be using Reinke Sports Group in the future. We appreciate your involvement, but it was evident that we have the skill level at the local level to produce the event.

As you know, the committee was unwilling to give up ownership of the marathon and as you also know, our verbal agreement was for one year. As I told you at the time of that verbal agreement, we would evaluate how the first year went and make a decision following the first race.

To be candid, you have too much on your plate for the size of your organization. The concept of a series of half marathons in minor league cities is a good one, but you need the staff to make it happen. At this time, you are depending far too much on the local organization.

You did not deliver on the sponsorships or the expo. The shirts were not ordered on time and the food for the post party was a complete fiasco. It was not Deano's fault, or Juan's fault. You would not give the green light because you had delayed the process and you were sure you could save money the last minute.

Finally, your track record in Bentonville was awful. They want nothing to do with you.

In the petition, which was originally filed in Jasper County Circuit Court, it was noted that 1,929 people participated in the Mother Road Marathon with entry fees estimated at $100,000. The intent was always for the sponsorship of the event to remain under the control of the city of Joplin the petition said.

"Despite being informed his contract was not being renewed, defendant is among other activities: a. claiming ownership of the MRM; (b) seeking sponsorships for the 2011 MRM; (c) seeking entries for the 2011 MRM." Reinke has also established three websites about the marathon.

Unless Reinke is kept from promoting the event and using websites and web addresses connected to the event "the city of Joplin will suffer irreparable injury and damage," the petition said.

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