ORLANDO (CN) - A Florida gun show demands return of more than $20,000 it paid for a venue that canceled its event when it found out that acquitted killer George Zimmerman would be one of the vendors.
The New Orlando Gun Show was scheduled to hold its gun show on the weekend of March 7-9 at the Majestic event center, but the Majestic killed the deal a day before the show, even after the Gun Show agreed to pull Zimmerman from the agenda.
Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder charges in July 2012 after shooting to death unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. The killing, trial and acquittal caused nationwide furor, but not much change, if any, to states' so-called "Stand Your Ground" laws, like the under that contributed to Zimmerman's acquittal.
On short notice last weekend, the New Orlando Gun Show was held instead held at The Arms Room Gun Show in Orlando on Saturday, March 8. Only about 20 people showed up over the course of six hours, according to the New York Daily News. Zimmerman shook hands with supporters and signed pictures of himself and his dog.
In its lawsuit in Orange County Court, the Gun Show claims it already had paid the rent for two rooms after signing a Majestic on Feb. 4.
But on March 6 Majestic canceled the event - a day after it was announced that Zimmerman would be a vendor.
Gun Show organizers posted pictures of Zimmerman on the event's Facebook page, and comments followed that sparked controversy.
Many commentators wrote that Zimmerman was being treated like a celebrity and called the gun show and the Majestic racist.
Trayvon Martin was black.
Majestic management asked the Gun Show to remove its posts, remove Zimmerman as a vendor, state that the announcement about his attendance was made in error, and that Zimmerman would not attend and never planned to.
The Gun Show claimed there was no provision in the contract to dictate who could or could not be a vendor, but says it but canceled Zimmerman's contract anyway.
The Majestic canceled the show anyway, and did not return the rent or deposit, the Gun Show claims in the complaint.
Zimmerman then tweeted on his supposed account @TherealGeorgeZ: "Another company bowing to threats of being labeled racist. Americans give them your opinion."
Several of Zimmerman's supporters responded to his tweet that Majestic was violating his rights as a gun owner.
The Gun Show also requested an injunction to stop Majestic from terminating the contract, claiming irreparable injury if it was not granted.
The Gun Show claims Majestic's actions cost the local economy about $300,000 that could have flowed through Orlando due to the show's 100 vendors, customers and employees.
It claims it spent more than $20,000 in deposits, advertising, supplies, employee salaries and income it could have made from concealed-weapons classes.
Majestic did not respond Monday to a request for comment.
The Gun Show is represented by Kevin Maxwell of Orlando.
The defendant is Mathura Holdings LLC dbs Majestic.
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