Monday, January 31, 2011

Mario, John and Jeff Andretti sue Powersports Factory from Dealer News

Mario, John and Jeff Andretti sue Powersports Factory from Dealer News

So Dealer News is finally reporting on the PSF situation including what really happened at the company before it's closing. I don't feel bad for Mario, John, and Jeff Andretti since its just a tax write off for them, I think we really have to feel bad for the consumer who is spending money out of pocket for a non-existing warranty for a vehicle with their names on it. The dealers who cannot get parts support and the people riding around on a vehicle that smells like gasoline. The article was well written, but it forgot to mention Glenn Russo of Avatar Financial who is a first class scam artist and former employee of PSF. It also fails to mention all the dealers who are owed thousands of dollars in warranties that now have to sue the product liability insurance company behind PSF and their corporate insurance company. I can also tell you first hand it's not two or three units we've replaced, but over 80 gas tanks in 2010 alone so there are a thousand or so out there that need replacement.

In a perfect world people would do the right thing and make sure another company out there could help consumers, we've tried to do this, but it has not been easy. The insurance behind the firm will pay for this but its up to the dealer to make a claim. Now that PSF has closed any NHTSA or DOT investigations are likely to end since there is nobody to go after except for the insurance firm.

I think the biggest issue here is that in recent months, several dealers and consumers have contacted MRP regarding a leaky gas tank on the 2008-2009 Benelli Andretti Pepe models in the USA, also known as the X50 BENELLI X50 OR QUATTRO NOVE. So that issue stays with us and if you want to read more click on the link below.
X50 Andretti 2009 Gas Tank Issue LEAKING GAS

We have received enough questions and phone calls regarding this matter, that we felt it necessary to make this post, as there may be some dealers and consumers unaware that their gas tank is leaking. Click on the link below so that you can get NHTSA and DOT information or how to replace your tank.

The issue with a leaky gas tank is that in most states your local dealer that sold you the new unit is ultimately responsible for obtaining a new gas tank and these are available from MRP and in stock, so if you have a leaky tank make sure you request one from your dealership. The insurance company behind PSF at the time they distributed this is liable and will pay for it, but the dealer has to make a claim. In the meantime any consumer should go to their dealer and get their tank replaced. Legally most consumers have this right and aren't even aware of it. It's a safety issue and it just makes common sense to not drive a Benelli that smells like gasoline all day.

In the meantime see the latest news on the Mario Andretti Powersports Factory Saga below:


Famed racers Mario, John and Jeff Andretti and the company they formed as a vehicle for endorsements are suing Power Sports Factory and its former CEO and president, claiming the company hasn’t paid them for their endorsements of Chinese Benelli and Yamati motorcycles and scooters.

The complaint, filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, alleges breach of two contracts, fraud, fraudulent inducement and violation of the Andrettis’ right to publicity – the unlawful use of their names and likenesses – against Pennsauken, N.J.-based Power Sports Factory, CEO Shawn Landgraf and president Steve Rubakh.

The Andrettis – Formula One and multiple Indianapolis 500 champion Mario, his youngest son Jeff and nephew John – say they weren’t paid for their endorsements and that Power Sports Factory continued to use them after the Andrettis terminated the contracts under which they were licensed.

The Andrettis’ company. Andretti IV, signed contracts to endorse the bikes in 2007, letting Power Sports Factory use their “name, image, likeness, audio, audio visual recordings, logos, photographs, signatures, initials, endorsements and biographical information” to promote the branding and sale of Andretti lines.

The contracts called for Andretti IV to receive $60 per Andretti Benelli and $30 for each Andretti Yamati vehicle that Power Sports Factory sold, with minimum payments of $500,000 a year for Benelli contract and $300,000 for the Yamati contract, starting in the second calendar year of the deals, according to the lawsuit.

Power Sports Factory had the right to terminate either 10-year deal after the third contract year if it didn’t sell at least 8,334 Andretti Benellis and 10,000 Andretti Yamatis in each contract year.

Andretti IV terminated both contracts Feb. 1, 2010, for nonpayment, and alleges Power Sports Factory continued to use the endorsements, pictures and Andretti name in magazine, catalog and online ads after that.

Andretti IV claims the defendants ignored demands for payment and never intended to pay them for the use of their family brand. They’re seeking unspecified damages in excess of $25,000 on each of seven claims in the case.

Efforts to reach Landgraf and Rubakh for comment were unsuccessful.

According to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Purchase Point Media, a provider of a shopping cart advertising systems, saw Power Sports Factory as a potential revenue generator and bought the company in April 2007 in a stock swap. Such transactions are a common tactic to shore up an existing company’s balance sheet and give new companies quicker access to equity markets. Rubakh got 60 million shares – 60 percent of the company – in the deal; the other shareholders were all Canadian interests.

The company claimed three non-director employees and relationships with “over 100 dealers.” It recorded an operating loss of $2,253,049 for 2007.

Starting in November 2008 the company was late with its quarterly financial reports to the SEC nearly every quarter, always citing the same reason: documents under Landgraf’s signature gave the explanation that “Management is in the process of finalizing the operating results of the [period]. The information could not be assembled and analyzed without unreasonable effort and expense to the Registrant. The Form 10-Q will be filed as soon as practicable and within the 5 day extension period.”

PSF got a boost from a $1 million revolving line of credit from Crossroads Debt LLC in early 2009 but was in trouble again soon after.

In December 2009, the company reported $1.46 million in assets against $6.4 million in liabilities.

By last April CEO Landgraf told the SEC that he was quitting the failing company at the end of June, but said he would continue to “work with the board in the transition period.”

Then in a final status report filed with the SEC last Oct. 22, Landgraf gave notice that Power Sports Factory was done:

“The company is by letter advising its vendors, suppliers and shareholders that the company has closed its business due to financial difficulties,” the statement reads. “The company has sold the balance of its inventory and has distributed the proceeds to its secured lender. At this time, the company does not anticipate that there will be any funds available to pay the company’s unsecured creditors.”

The case is Andretti IV v. Power Sports Factory, No. 110103276.

No comments: