The saga of the Boston Grand Prix took another turn over the holidays as a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee filed a lawsuit seeking to recoup more than $1.8 million from the event's chief financial officer, John Casey.
Boston Grand Prix LLC filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in July 2016, two months before the inaugural IndyCar Series race was scheduled to be staged on Labor Day weekend, claiming liabilities totaling nearly $9 million with assets of less than $11,000. The liabilities included $1.67 million in refunds owed to customers who had purchased advance tickets to the event.
The Dec. 29 filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court's Massachusetts District by trustee Gary W. Cruickshank alleges that Casey used the BGP as his "personal piggy bank" while using the event's accounts for his own benefit. The 14-count suit claims that Casey, an experienced accountant, failed to maintain any semblance of adequate financial records for the event, "not out of ignorance, but intentionally to conceal his self-dealing and the systematic looting of BGP."
The suit alleges disbursements of nearly $125,000 to Casey's personal credit card accounts, $92,000 in mortgage payments for Casey's Boxford, Massachusetts, home, and some $40,000 in car payments, including $22,000 on a Porsche that Casey is still driving.
The filing asserts that Casey is personally liable for the Boston GP's debts and requests that his assets be frozen in an attempt to collect more than $1.81 million in reimbursement. In addition, Cruickshank contends that more than $862,000 in disbursements remain undocumented.
"BGP was merely Casey's alter ego," Cruickshank wrote. "Casey never hired a bookkeeper for the Debtor or even purchased bookkeeping software to track the Debtor's income and expenses. Casey testified that he kept track of accounts payable in his head."
In an interview with the Boston Herald, Casey said he intends to vigorously fight the charges.
"This is absolute nonsense," he told the paper. "I have no concern about this whatsoever. If I have to go to court and fight this, then I'll go to court. I will be exonerated. Accounting is not an art. It's a science.
"I'm standing my ground here -- I'm not giving an inch," he added.
During testimony in July, Casey claimed that the accounting for the event was set up in an unorthodox manner in which his personal expenses were to be paid in lieu of a salary. While under oath, he admitted that he did not formally log invoices and kept a list of accounts payable in his head.
However, in that hearing, Casey affirmed that he had been paid $608,166 by the Boston GP and claimed he is still owed another $377,834.
The cancellation of the heavily-hyped event before it was even held created a considerable amount of negative publicity for IndyCar, which nonetheless contributed $925,000 toward ticket refunds.