The former president of Andretti Sports Marketing is contending Michael Andretti’s IndyCar team is “insolvent and in imminent danger of insolvency and cannot pay it debts.”
Andretti claims it’s a reckless attempt to discredit his good name.
In what figures to be a contentious legal battle, longtime Andretti employee John Lopes is suing his former boss after being terminated as president of Andretti Sports Marketing late last month.
Lopes (RIGHT, far left), one of three owners of Andretti Sports Marketing along with Starke Taylor and Andretti, filed a lawsuit in Marion County Superior Court against Andretti Autosport Holding Company.
Lopes and Taylor each own 20 per cent of ASM while Michael Andretti controls 60 percent. Lopes also helped guide IndyCar driver Simona de Silvestro after she broke from her longtime manager last year.
Among several contentions in the lawsuit by Lopes and Taylor that Andretti mismanaged ASM, they also claim Andretti AutoSport is “seven million dollars in debt and has two million dollars in assets.”
Andretti issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
“This lawsuit is a disingenuous and self-serving attempt to benefit John Lopes and Starke Taylor at the expense of Andretti Autosport and its 120 employees. The allegations by Lopes and Taylor will not be supported by the evidence and we will aggressively respond with the truth.
“My family has strived to earn an exemplary reputation in all facets of our personal and professional lives. We will not allow this reckless attempt at grabbing leverage to impact our family name.”
Barnes & Thornburg represent Lopes and Taylor while defendant Andretti is represented by James H. Voyles.
Reached by phone late Tuesday, Voyles had no comment and Lopes could not be contacted.
It’s the second legal squabble for Andretti in the past few months.
In June, Andretti Sports Marketing filed a federal lawsuit against NOLA Motorsports Park, claiming it was owed $800,000 in organizing and promoting the IndyCar race last March outside New Orleans.
ASM promoted Baltimore, NOLA, and Milwaukee IndyCar races, and the Formula E race in Miami.
ASM is still in business, but with a skeleton staff after Baltimore, NOLA, and Miami fell through. Milwaukee could return, but in light of recent developments, the Mile would need a new promoter.