Race Organizer Accused of Selling Newport Beach Triathlon Entries Under “False Pretenses”

Pacific Sports has previously cancelled The Brooklyn Triathlon and Los Angeles Triathlons after Disputes With Local Officials

The Newport Beach Triathlon is scheduled to take place on October 1, 2017. The race is scheduled to take place at The Newport Marina. The problem, as reported on californiatriathlon.org, is that the race does not have the permits or contracts in place to hold the event.

As of this morning, signups were being accepted through Active.com

According to Brian Ross, the executive director of Newport Dunes Resort and Marina (quotes excerpted from article which appeared on californiatriathlon.org) – Note – the statement by The Newport Dunes Resort mistakenly refers to Pacific Sports as Water Sports.

…On that note, one may conclude that registration for the triathlon is being sold under false pretenses — the event is neither contracted nor permitted to occur. We have asked Water Sports, LLC, to cease and desist using our business name and address (a total of three requests to stop have been issued to Jack Caress).

I checked on the Pacific Sports site this morning, and they still show that the event is to take place at Newport Dunes.

 

 

What makes this situation all the more troubling is the history that Pacific Sports has with canceling events:

Brooklyn Triathlon

The Brooklyn Triathlon, originally scheduled for 2013 was postponed until 2014.

6 days before the Triathlon was to take place, it was canceled. This was reported in The Brooklyn Daily:

Triathlon dashed: Organizer cancels over police fees

 

The stated reason for the cancellation, was that that it was over a dispute regarding the police fees associated with the required road closures. The article I linked did seem to put most of the blame on the city. From everything I’ve gathered, I think there is blame to go around to both sides. The race should not have set prices and accepted money without some idea as to what the police fees would have been.

“We did expect a fee assessment, but we thought it would about one-fifth of this,” said Jack Caress of Pacific Sports. “What’s really troubling is there was no transparency, no detail — I’ve asked for months to see the deployment. Well, $127,000 for two miles — I cant fathom what they would need, and they wont disclose it.”

Comments on their Facebook page are consistently negative. Athletes posted about never receiving their refunds, or the lengths they had to go through to get their money back.

     

The comment by Pacific Sports is head scratching. They say that they were issuing refunds as cashflow allows. All the while, they were sitting on entry fees for months (over a year for those that transferred their entry from 2013). It is understandable that they may have used revenue to pay for services related to the race that did not happen. But this is not an instance where weather or an act of God prevented the race from happening. This event was cancelled solely because of poor planning. The athletes should not be left holding the bag.

The initial email I received regarding this company also indicatedthat many athletes  have not received refunds.

Los Angeles Triathlon

3 days before it was scheduled, the 2016 L.A. Triathlon was canceled. The below linked article was posted on Triathlon.com.

Who’s Responsible For Canceling The Los Angeles Triathlon?

The reasons that were given for the L.A Triathlon cancellation were once again, the supposed lack of an itemized bill (which the city of Torrence disputes) and a $7,200 bill that he received to be paid to a neighboring city – which was to cover costs relating to signage communicating road closures.

[Caress] was fully aware of what the breakdown was,” and “did know what the billing was for,” says Fran Fulton, the city’s economic development manager. Fulton says that her office and Caress had had monthly meetings leading up to the event and that “if he had disputes, he had several months to bring it up.” She says the prepayment policy had been in place for the past two years, and nothing about it changed in 2016.

What I found interesting was that Caress says that the cancellation of the Brook Triathlon likely cost his company $100,000 and the cancellation of the Los Angeles Triathlon would cost him $150,000 to $250,000.  I cannot quite fathom why someone would take such a large loss over a $7200 invoice and a delay in getting an itemized statement. Presumably the losses would be less if participants weren’t refunded.

 

Summary

Given the comments of the supposed venue for the Newport Beach Triathlon, I would be hesitant to hand my money over for this race. If I already have, I would closely monitor the situation. I am hoping this article helps to get some answers sooner rather than later.

I also am left to wonder what role Active.com should take. I am not saying that they are at fault for the cancellations. But at what point do they have a responsibility to cut ties with a company that has a history of canceling or postponing events?

I have sent a message to Pacific Sports through their Facebook page, and have yet to receive a response. I also reached out to the Newport Dunes Resort to confirm that nothing has changed regarding the statement that were made in the article in CaliforniaTriathlon.org. The person responding confirmed that nothing changed. I have not yet been able to connect with Brian Ross personally. If there is any additional news regarding the status of the Triathlon and the venue, I will post an update.

 

 

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Categories
Triathlon
10 Comments on this post.
  • Sasser
    26 July 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Honestly, it sounds like registrants should go to their state’s Attorney General and inquire about pursuing fraud charges.

  • Russ
    26 July 2017 at 5:15 pm

    This sounds like a really poor organization… but you might want to look at your wording.

    For Brooklyn, you say, “The race should not have set prices and accepted money without some idea as to what the police fees would have been.”

    But the next sentence gives a quote from Caress saying, “We did expect a fee assessment, but we thought it would about one-fifth of this.”

    If you take him at his word (possibly a bad idea), it sounds like he did have some idea… and that it would be about $25K. I’m not defending the guy or the organization. I’m just pointing out the presentation of it.

  • derek murphy
    26 July 2017 at 7:53 pm

    They assumed what the cost would be, they really didn’t have any idea.

  • Christine
    27 July 2017 at 9:00 am

    I am personally still owed money from the cancelled Torrance race. I managed to get a partial refund only by hounding the guy on social, emailing every day, and contacting the Torrance Chamber of Commerce. I also have colleagues in Brooklyn that never received a refund for the Brooklyn tri. What’s going on here now is an established pattern–take money for races then cancel and stiff athletes and vendors. This an experienced race director. I don’t believe for an instant the claims that he didn’t know what the permits and fees would cost.

  • Tony
    27 July 2017 at 10:00 am

    I am one of the many people who never received a refund for the cancelled Brooklyn Triathlon, despite following all the stepes required and multiple emails and phone calls. Even if you assume that things were legitimate up to the cancellation, nothing after that has been. They are a terrible organization

  • randy
    27 July 2017 at 11:48 am

    “I also am left to wonder what role Active.com should take. I am not saying that they are at fault for the cancellations. But at what point do they have a responsibility to cut ties with a company that has a history of canceling or postponing events?”

    Well, we all know Active.com sucks, so …

    • Mike Rossi’s 6 hour Ironman
      27 July 2017 at 2:29 pm

      Hundreds of dollars to alphabetize a race list and you think they suck??? You try working with the tricky alphabet. Plus, Active.com has to hire more people just to take your money. At least the “you are an ironman” guy isn’t double dipping. Anymore.

  • Jake
    27 July 2017 at 12:42 pm
  • Molly
    27 July 2017 at 11:03 pm

    If this sort of story interests you, google the Portland Marathon.

  • Jake
    1 August 2017 at 12:32 pm

    from FB today…

    “Can you confirm if this race is still happening?”
    NBT response “yes, it is”

    “Can you confirm if permits have been pulled or if Newport dunes have agreed to let u host this race there?”
    NBT response “Yes, but permits are not issued until approximately 10 days before any event.”

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