The following is a response to Shawano Leader reporter, Tim Ryan’s and his article published on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 titled, “SIST loses racetrack to creditor”.
Tim Ryan starts the article by telling the public that the USA International Raceway, (USAIR) was “once hailed” by SIST as a facility that would put Shawano on the map. When he says “once hailed” he is absolutely correct because SIST no longer wants the property; especially not after watching the illegal takeover and steady property deterioration that has taken place since. The racetracks creditor, Southwest Guaranty, Ltd. has been salivating after USAIR ever since they saw how successful and prosperous the racetrack became.
By the way Tim Ryan’s snide comment reads, you would think that putting Shawano on the map with a world class racing facility was a bad thing. Of course it would only be bad because SIST was doing it.
Southwest Guaranty made the one and only bid on the property at the public auction Wednesday, paying $2 million. What I don’t understand is if they were so intent on retrieving the property again than why didn’t they spend more time making sure the property was well maintained? Or do they plan to raze the property and develop farmland?
The history of the USA International Raceway is a long saga of racial discrimination and prejudice because one of the directors happens to be originally from India. This is unfortunately unacceptable in a small, primarily German town in Northern Wisconsin.
By way of background, Midwest Amusement Park (an SIST subsidiary) purchased the property in June of 2003 from Water and Wheels Amusement Park, LLC for $350,000. It was a dinky side road amusement that only locals were aware of. In 2004 after doing much research, USAIR had Kenny Venberg design the multi-faceted racetrack. Not only was an exceptional track in progress but the landscaping was being updated too, laying new sod, putting up high class cedar fencing, thousands of dollars worth of roses and potted plants, all to create an image of distinction and to put Shawano on the map!
Let the racing begin!
The World Karting Association (WKA) and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) are several of the first two nationally/internationally known groups to take an interest in the new track at USAIR. Stars of Karting and Rotex races brought people in from around the country and the world. If these people weren’t coming here for the track, what other attraction would have brought them, the Farm Inn’ on Main Restaurant perhaps? Or maybe the PGA tour would come to the Shawano Lake Golf Course. <Insert sarcasm>
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Shawano itself is a bad place but some of the people in government positions around here don’t have their head screwed on straight. It is only common sense to support someone with the means and vision to improve your community but it seems that every time SIST or any of their subsidiaries have tried this they been effectively road blocked with needless hassle.
These hassles have been in particular caused by Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt. For example USAIR is located 1.5 miles from downtown Shawano. Shawano Speedway is located right in the heart of downtown Shawano. During the summer on Saturday night stock cars race at the ‘Nights of Thunder’ are so loud they can be heard miles and miles away. Try living right across the street from them!
On the other hand go-karts at USAIR, which couldn’t be heard until you were within the edge of the premise, created such a noise issue that Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt had to get on the radio urging people to express their concerns about the noise. She sent her officers with decibel meters to take decibel readings at the front of USAIR. By use of her power and influence, she diminished hours of operation because of the so called noise issue.
During big events, parking along the road was strictly prohibited, and any violators were ticketed. When USAIR purchased the wayside across the road, parking there was even scrutinized and had to be so many feet from the road. In 2005, USAIR purchased a lot with the intended purpose of overflow parking. After the purchase, Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt and Shawano City officials measured the distance of the lot to USAIR, which was just over 750 feet. A city ordinance was then passed, limiting offsite parking to 750 feet or less. Endless citations were given for any racers parking on this lot or in front of USAIR, or on the wayside across the road. The purpose was to harass visitors so they don’t return.
The business interference was an everyday occurrence.
Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt devised another scheme and that was to use a Canadian business man in the racing industry, by name of Robert Cameron, to defraud USAIR of $175,000 and with the ultimate goal of stealing the track. In October 2008, he came to USAIR under the guise of being a racing consultant, offered to increase the marketing of an Arrive & Drive program for the facility and to bring in millions of dollars in revenue. I f he was hired as a promoter for the track he offered to lend $10,000,000 against the track, valued at $15,000,000. Legal documents were drawn up, both for the consulting agreement and for the loan. The agreement was for USAIR to pay a $175,000 retainer towards the consulting agreement and upon receipt of this Cameron would fund the $10,000,000 loan. USAIR paid the $175,000 and never received the loan or any service.
Thereafter he informed USAIR he had been working in conspiracy with Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt, Shawano City officials and others, all who had been meeting bimonthly to strategize on their demise, to steal $175,000 from them, and hopefully to someway forge documents releasing the title to the USA International Raceway.
Upon Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt’s and Shawano City officials’ knowledge of the information leak they immediately concocted a hit list story in which, parent company, SIST was accused of hiring Robert Cameron by paying the $175,000 to kill sixty people in the City of Shawano. It was called “Red Rum”. They got a hold of the media through, television, radio, print and internet, one in particular being Channel 7, Mikel Lauber, which is part of Lorna Marquardt’s Lutheran Church. The purpose of this was to slander, defame and plummet business through a media smear campaign to cover up their illegal activities.
Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt’s wishes were not completely fulfilled. She next contacted the lender, Southwest Guaranty, urging him strongly to foreclose. Even though USAIR was current on their payments the lender responded by demanding extra collateral and some extra documents. He came to Shawano under the guise of looking at the track and picked out the most valuable properties and demanded SIST to surrender them as collateral.
SIST’s CEO was cautious from past similar dealings and refused to give either the collateral or the extra documents. He responded by foreclosing using a technical default as the excuse. Having been persuaded by Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt to terminate the business relationship between them and SIST, SIST had no choice but to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March of 2009.
In April 2009, initiated by Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt, Shawano City officials, the Shawano Leader, and other local media there was another smear campaign regarding SIST’s bankruptcy and linking it to the hit list. On one or more of these programs the lender stated via telephone interview that his goal was to, “…own the track”.
On May 25th, 2010, after innumerous correspondence between Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt, Shawano City officials and U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judges in Delaware, the bankruptcy was dismissed. Upon this announcement Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt publicly exclaimed that she was glad, and that things were heading in the right direction.
On June 3, 2010, a secret meeting was held in Shawano discussing how to go about taking over USAIR. On June 4, 2010, a local attorney, Steve Krueger, who has been known for expressing his prejudicial and racial feelings openly, showed up at USAIR with numerous armed Shawano County Sheriff Deputies and Shawano City Police, although the property is located in the Town of Wescott not the City of Shawano, and seized all property and ordered all personnel off the property under threat of arrest. This was all done illegally.
The Shawano Leader has never covered a single National or International USAIR event all these years. Now here they are again, making SIST out to be idiots when in fact it is the broker, Southwest Guarantee, city officials, and the infamous Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt who are the real idiots. They have sacrificed the success of the community because of their racial bias against a business man from India and his vision for progress.