Friday, April 10, 2009

Running into Trouble

Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that Chris Devine of Devine Racing, which owns and operates the Salt Lake Marathon has been accused of financing his marathon empire with money he stole from an isolated multimillionaire C. Robert Allen to the tune of $70 million dollars. Allen's family has charged in a lawsuit Devine and business partner Bruce Buzil of racketeering, fraud, and embezzlement. They describe the Allen as a mentally and physically frail man who was taken advantage of.

C. Robert Allen is the son of Charles Allen Jr. who left school to work on Wall Street at age fifteen. By 1933, he was highly successful and by the time of his death in 1996 left a fortune that was reported by Forbes as valued at 2 billion dollars.

After their initial meeting, the complaint charges that Devine took advantage of Allen's isolation and loneliness, visiting often, calling constantly and performing personal favors for him.

They claim Devine and Buzil sent expensive gifts to Allen including a $250,000 Bentley automobile, but used Allen's funds to pay for it all. Then they persuaded Allen to make several loans to their company, Superior Broadcasting Company, but Allen's family claims that it was just a shell company and it never owned a single radio station.

Beginning in 2005, family members tried unsuccessfully to force Devine to account for nearly $70 million in Allen loans.

Devine established the Salt Lake City Marathon, and purchased the Los Angeles and Las Vegas marathons. Runners, vendors and business associates from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Chicago and New York for years have accused Devine of failing to pay bills on time and reneging on deals and has been sued at least four dozen times.

The bad business practices are especially hard on the runners, who make little, and have had to wait up to two years for their pay. See the rest of the story here.

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