Hydro finger-pointing continues - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Hydro finger-pointing continues

Diamond Cup says H1 Unlimited official did damage to races

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Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 1:02 am, Tue Jul 22, 2014.

COEUR d'ALENE - Diamond Cup hydroplane race organizers have publicly bashed Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger more than once for the cancellation of this year's planned event.

But privately they also have taken some shots at allies of the boat races that had been planned for Labor Day weekend, according to a letter emailed late Friday by Diamond Cup president Doug Miller and his right-hand man, Keith Kroetch.

To a large extent, the two pointed fingers at Sam Cole, chairman of H1 Unlimited, the unlimited hydroplane boat racing league. Miller and Kroetch said Cole provided nothing but headaches for the new race organizers.

Part of the problem is what Cole didn't provide, they complained. Cole offered few guidelines, absolutely no financing, no help with media, and no sponsorships, they wrote.

"Sam Cole started an email campaign in January of 2014 in which he notified people outside of the owners of Diamond Cup Unlimited LLC that the company was in arrears (from last year's races) and that he was demanding payment," according to the letter by Miller and Kroetch to H1.

Sam Cole couldn't immediately be reached for comment Monday. Steve Montgomery, a spokesman for H1 Unlimited, said Cole and the league's attorney are considering whether to respond to the accusations.

John Magnuson, an attorney for Diamond Cup and Miller, said Monday the permit denial by the sheriff remains the sole reason why there is no race.

The letter was Miller's way of saying H1 needed to change the way it conducts business in the future, Magnuson said.

"We're saying we had some problems with them," Magnuson said Monday. Miller didn't respond to a request for comment.

Miller and Kroetch's letter also accused Cole - and a local supporter of the races, Pat Stroud - of feeding The Press some damaging proprietary and personal financial information about Diamond Cup to hurt Miller and Kroetch's ability to raise outside financing. Kroetch told The Press on Monday that he doesn't support any criticism of Stroud.

Friday, however, they wrote that Stroud - who actually helped with the 2013 Diamond Cup, including loaning Miller $4,000 - told them Cole was personally interested in owning the rights to Diamond Cup.

"The total failure of (Miller) to work with the community officials for requirements of life, safety and otherwise was the reason for the cancellation (announced Friday)," Stroud told The Press on Monday. "The fact that funds could not be raised is a testament to the lack of faith the community had in Doug Miller."

Stroud also called it "preposterous" that Cole wanted part ownership.

"We just want to have another race next year," Stroud said.

The organizers wrote that they were notified by a representative of Inland Northwest Bank in Spokane, which handles the banking activities for Diamond Cup, that Cole had contacted him "in what we believe to be an effort to procure the suspension of ticket sales for the 2014 Labor Day event."

Cole, they alleged, advised the banker that tickets should not be sold for the 2014 race because of Diamond Cup's financial situation.

"Cole made such contacts, we believe, with actual knowledge that he was interfering with our business relationship with both INB and TicketsWest, the event's ticket provider," Miller and Kroetch wrote.

"We are aware that Sam Cole made contact with potential major sponsorship sources in an attempt to gain support for his alternate group of race organizers," Miller and Kroetch wrote. "According to (Craig Brosenne, general manager of Hagadone Marine Group), Cole advised him of his intention to take over the race and asked if the Brosenne's employer (the Hagadone Corp.) was interested in coming on board."

Brosenne, according to Miller and Kroetch, told them the Hagadone group declined. The Press is owned by the Hagadone Corp.

Brosenne couldn't immediately be reached for comment Monday.

Thomas J. McNabb, coordinator of the Miss Diamond Cup event, said Saturday he doesn't believe race organizers like Miller are being honest about what prevented the races from happening this year.

"As those who know the workings of the Diamond Cup LLC are well aware, the real reason the 2014 Diamond Cup race had to be canceled is due to the fact that Doug Miller was unwilling to bring in community-minded investors back in November 2013, as Doug decided at the last minute that he didn't want to give up a majority interest in the Diamond Cup," McNabb said.

Herb Huseland, a volunteer who handled media and public relations for Diamond Cup and helped out at the office for the 2013 races, said Miller has mismanaged the event and lost credibility with the public.

"They were never able to fundraise after last year's races," Huseland said Monday. There was too much money owed from 2013.

"People were unwilling to invest in a dead body," he said. But organizers "continued to act like nothing was wrong and they were going to pull this thing off."

He said Miller was not only a bad manager, but also unwilling to accept reality.

Huseland said he holds out hope that the races will return in the future to Lake Coeur d'Alene.

"The community would get behind it more if it wasn't a for-profit thing," Huseland said.

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  • AnonymousCda posted at 11:03 am on Thu, Jul 24, 2014.

    AnonymousCda Posts: 240

    The organizers want total control of the lake and surrounding area to get as much cash as possible. To do this you must cough up a bunch more dough than whats on the table. Who wants more traffic this year? The area is filled with events, how many events are to many within a Summers time?

  • ClassyCharacter posted at 4:17 pm on Wed, Jul 23, 2014.

    ClassyCharacter Posts: 2

    Further, why would H1 want to do business with Doug Miller? He wrote them an $80,000 hot check on race day last year. That had to be paid off before this year's race would even be considered. Last year's event was pulled off by the volunteers in spite of Doug Miller's shady financing. He was not the "organizer." He was and is the clueless shyster who deserves 110% of the blame.

  • ClassyCharacter posted at 3:47 pm on Wed, Jul 23, 2014.

    ClassyCharacter Posts: 2

    Doug Miller continues to blame everyone but himself, and pointing the finger at the community is no way to win favor. I worked in the ticket trailer selling hot pit passes, and half of the people wanting those tickets were "friends of Doug Miller" who were told by him that they didn't have to pay...and they didn't. The spectators accused of not paying and causing his financial difficulties were his own friends!!

  • estatetracker posted at 11:17 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    estatetracker Posts: 251

    Where and why did this story even make the Press? It's like beating a dead horse into the ground and breaking it off. Done, over, wah, wah, bla, bla--soap opera. But still--why the need by the Press to pound?

  • Freethinker posted at 9:43 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Freethinker Posts: 217

    I hope you and yours enjoy yourselves in San Diego. As for your arrogance that our locals need your money or require tourists to survive, how egotistical and pathetic. Im happy you're not coming here. Bye!

  • Jayne posted at 9:36 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Jayne Posts: 2

    I mentioned there are political issues that I did not want to comment on, so don't understand your anger. You have a strange perspective on "out of towners" considering Coeur d'Alene is spending tons of money on TV advertising in the Seattle market encouraging Seattle area folks to come visit.

  • DCIDAHO posted at 8:52 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    DCIDAHO Posts: 1826

    Or don't leave at all.

  • FIy in the ointment posted at 6:00 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    FIy in the ointment Posts: 475

    "Have a great time and remember, if you come to CDA, you might have serious problems with the police."

    In other words, come to Coeur d' Alene for vacation leave on probation?

  • Timeless posted at 3:28 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Timeless Posts: 476

    No, here is the real rub.........Thank goodness our local issues are not determined by OUT OF TOWNERS!!

    Just keep driving South Buddy.

  • DCIDAHO posted at 3:25 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    DCIDAHO Posts: 1826

    Have a great time and remember, if you come to CDA, you might have serious problems with the police. Better to take your business to the Tri-Cities and San Diego

  • Jayne posted at 3:17 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Jayne Posts: 2

    Here's the real rub. I live in the Seattle area. My husband and I had planned to head over to the races and stay five nights. We planned to stay at a local hotel, partake in the local restaurants and shops, enjoy the races and other local activities. Well, without the hydro races, we are not heading over to Idaho. Instead we just booked reservations for a San Diego hotel in September, and will attend the races and will tour San Diego. I know there all all kinds of political issues with the races in Idaho, but the bottom line is that San Diego will now get our time and money! (BTW, we are going to Tri-Cities for their races, too!)

  • Jullee posted at 11:13 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Jullee Posts: 534

    Who is this Doug Miller ? Did he make an investment or use other peoples money ?
    What about cost incurred this year ?

  • The Other Decider posted at 9:51 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    The Other Decider Posts: 155

    Keep them in the Tri-Cities, don't need them here, don't want them here. Good riddance!

  • sierra posted at 8:33 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    sierra Posts: 76

    I hope they come this year. I hope they fire the guy that ran it last year.

  • oscar posted at 8:19 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    oscar Posts: 932

    Seems like more people from out of town supported this race than locals. Seems like Miller blames everyone but himself for the problems. He and his attorney should take a hike, but first, pay your bills.

  • SKGOP posted at 6:37 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    SKGOP Posts: 285

    OPM.....I just finished commenting on another ......bad idea and here is another. Putting on Hydro Racing takes.....$$$....It takes time.....and ABOVE ALL ELSE.....It takes a community that wants it. Obviously CDA did not. Add to this all of the "screw ups", mis-fires ( punn intended) and non-payments and here we are. Other Peoples Money is what "Johnny Come Latelys" use all of the time. They seldom.....if ever......use their OWN $$$........because......they DO NOT HAVE THEIR OWN. If they did, there is no way they would put it into a hydro race in CDA unless they were the guy riding the Harley dressed in $$$. The good news is it's Tuesday and by Saturday this will all be forgotten.....EXCEPT by Mr. Miller who will still be thinking about.....how to pay off last years bills.

  • Jdecoy posted at 5:35 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Jdecoy Posts: 41

    The citizens voted no? Are you referring to the late 60's? That had nothing to do with the current diamond cup! I think everyone agrees miller could/ should have done things differently and maybe it's time for someone else to step in and take over? Is it really about the races still owing money lmycda or is it just the races? I doubt you would support them had they been profitable the first year! I wonder if you live in the silver beach area or did the races limit your boating on the lake?. I have a feeling they didn't affect you at all! Maybe next year they can change the name and replace the hydros's with paddle boats and granola bars!

  • LMYCDA posted at 3:29 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    LMYCDA Posts: 1593

    The citizens voted NO. Miller and your cohorts...take your races to Utah, the community has spoken. Sounds like Miller is an arrogant whining little man. He couldn't get his act together and expected the citizens to have to pay his debts! He better get square with whomever he still owes.

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