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Cleveland to pay $475,000 in Gay Games settlement
by Roger Brigham

As reported on the Bay Area Reporter 's blog Monday, dueling lawsuits and countersuits over who holds the license to stage the 2014 Gay Games were settled separately out of court just days before they were scheduled to begin trial in Cleveland this week.

Cleveland Synergy Foundation had been awarded the Gay Games IX license in 2009 by the Federation of Gay Games, but the FGG terminated the license in 2010, alleging CSF had failed to submit required information in a timely fashion. FGG named Cleveland Special Events Corporation as the new host entity. In September 2010, CSF sued the FGG, the city of Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Sports Foundation, and Valarie McCall of the mayor's office to retain the rights to the event.

It is believed the FGG was the first to settle and the city of Cleveland the last. The trial had been scheduled to begin July 26.

"We resolved each entity separately," Andre Kabat, attorney for CSF, told the B.A.R. "The terms of the settlements are confidential, except for the settlement with the city of Cleveland, which is a matter of public record."

Kabat said the city agreed to pay CSF $475,000.

"CSF will not be involved going forward," said Kurt Dahl, co-president of the Federation of Gay Games. "They will not be part of the host organization."

But that does not mean CSF will be rooting against the event.

"We are pleased with the resolution and look forward to helping the city of Cleveland promote the games," Kabat said.

In the months of preparations for the trial, allegations were raised by CSF of homophobic behavior and comments by members of the groups that were moving forward with Gay Games IX.

"It's very important to say that the accusations of homophobia in the straight people that are taking up some of the leadership roles with the host organization are exaggerated and misguided," said Robby Davis, the FGG officer of development who has helped oversee Cleveland operations. "I have not encountered any disrespect or disregard for LGBT people or blatant homophobia. I see the folks we are working with here, whether they are out or not, to be the most incredible allies. They are so proud that Akron and Cleveland are going to be hosts of these games."

Thomas Nobbe, a founder of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland and an active swimmer and volleyball player, became executive director of CSE effective July 1.

"I can't respond to those allegations, but I can say those of us from the LGBT community who are actually taking the lead haven't noticed anything but real collaboration," Nobbe said. "I was relieved this was resolved and glad that we can focus on making the 2014 Gay Games the best ever. As long as the lawsuit was out there it was a cloud that made it difficult for us to go out there and raise money, whether it was corporate sponsorships or individual donations. Now that this is out of the way we can focus on telling our story."


Team 4 HIV Hope places 8th

Team 4 HIV Hope, whose four riders included three infected by HIV, placed eighth out of 32 teams in June's Race Across America. The four cyclists covered the 3,000-mile race in six days, six hours and 34 minutes.

"We are determined to eliminate the stigma that society has attached to HIV/AIDS and to show that people with HIV/AIDS can do anything with the proper medications," team member Jim Williams said. "We have already started planning for next year. Our mission is not over; we still have work to do."

The team plans to have its blood drawn daily next year in the race for research on how their immune systems are affected and the absorption rates of their medications during the race.

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