The recent article about the status of the Baltimore Grand Prix and Downforce Racing suggests the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) stalled the Baltimore Sun's efforts to secure material through the Public Information Act to prevent a public relations embarrassment for the promoter ("Slow Grand Prix start," April 5).
That is not the case, and I would like to clarify the status of the agreement.
First, MSA has virtually no financial exposure to Downforce Racing or the financial success of the 2012 Baltimore Grand Prix. Our role is limited to the leasing of our parking lots, much as we do for events like the Baltimore Marathon or the African-American Festival.
The requirement for the promoters to have an agreement by March 15 with MSA to use our parking lots was the city of Baltimore's stipulation, not ours. Nevertheless, MSA and Downforce Racing came to terms on lease provisions some time before the deadline.
The agreement is clear on the terms most significant to the Maryland taxpayer — if the rent for use of Camden Yards parking lots, approximately $108,000 in rental fees for 2012, is not paid in full 10 days prior to the race, the grand prix promoters will not be allowed to use the parking lots. This protection is sufficient to address any concerns that MSA has about getting paid. So when a signed document was returned to our office in compliance with the deadline of March 15, we considered the contract to be properly executed and the commitment required by the city met.
However, because one of the principals of the racing group was not available to sign the document, one of the other members of Downforce Racing had signed his name, making it clear, of course, that he did so. Our attorney subsequently determined that without all of the principals' signatures on the contract, it may not be legally enforceable in the event of default. We considered obtaining the final remaining signature to be a housekeeping matter and believed that the promoters had met the city's deadline.
Our attorney rightly sought to prevent the press from being misled by providing a contract that did not meet our standards for enforceability, but she also did not want to advance the perception that the promoters had not met their commitment; hence, her advice not to provide the document or discuss the matter until she had the opportunity to talk with Downforce Racing and obtain the final signature.
Michael J. Frenz, Baltimore
The writer is the executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority.