NASCAR Cup: Kurt Busch at war with former management company
Kurt Busch (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)
By AMANDA VINCENT
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kurt Busch is being sued for $1.4 million by his former agent, Sports Management Network, and in response, the 2004 champion has filed a countersuit. The suit was filed in US District Court’s Eastern District of Michigan.
Before ending his contract with SMN, Busch was represented by Sports Management Network since 2005. According to the suit filed by SMN, Busch stopped paying the fees outlined in its contract with him in March 2016.
SMN claimed in its suit, filed in February, that Busch was seven installments behind in his payment schedule, totaling $930,450, and that Busch also is responsible for $540,000 in payments, yet to be invoiced, for 2017. The contract was supposed to be in effect until 2018.
In response, Busch filed a $1.3 countersuit March 24 against Sports Management Network, John Caponigro of SMN and the law firm of Frasco Caponigro Wineman & Scheible, claiming SMN and its law firm “improperly advantaged themselves” and the interests of other clients, Team Penske and Andretti Autosport.
In his countersuit, Busch claims that Sports Management, FCWS had “fiduciary, legal, ethical and contractual duties to act in Busch’s best interests” but did not do so, and as a result, caused him millions in damages.
Busch had signed a contract to drive for Team Penske in 2006 by the time he first signed with Sports Management Network and drove for Andretti Autosport in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. Busch last drove for Team Penske in 2011. He was a driver for Phoenix Racing and then Furniture Row Racing the next two years before joining Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. He continues to drive the No. 41 for Stewart-Haas Racing. Busch claims that he maintained his relationship with SMN and its law firm “at all relevant times,” and the $1.3 million for which he is asking is a refund of the money he paid them between January 2011 and January 2016.
In response to Busch’s countersuit, Frasco Caponigro Wineman & Scheible released the following statement, on behalf of Sports Management Network:
“Defendants’ allegations are outrageous and have no factual basis. It is a shame that, in an effort to avoid paying fees that are owed, Defendants instead have chosen to disparage the impeccable reputation of our clients who, for more than a decade, maximized Mr. Busch’s career opportunities, financially and otherwise, often during times when Mr. Busch’s conduct, both on and off the track, threatened his career. We are confident that the court will see through what is nothing more than a desperate, diversionary tactic.”