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Monday, June 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Promoter Sues Muhammad Ali Center

LOUISVILLE (CN) - A promoter claims he paid the Muhammad Ali Center $75,000 to co-sponsor a tour package for 160 British citizens to tour the center in Louisville and have dinner with the boxing champ. But Silverback Event Management claims the event never happened due to the co-sponsor's ineptitude, and that the Ali Center never delivered 17 of the 75 items of Ali memorabilia it was supposed to hand over to help pay for the event. Muhammad Ali is not a party to the complaint.

Silverback Event Management sued the Muhammad Ali Center, the Muhammad Ali Center Foundation and Muhammad Ali Enterprises - but not the champ - in Jefferson County Court.

Nor did Silverback name as a defendant Carl Holness, though it accuses Holness of setting up the fiasco by "touting his close personal relationship with individuals at the Ali Center."

Silverback claims Holness pitched the event as a dinner for 160 Brits, and said he had "firm commitments" for the travelers, who would eat a black-tie dinner with the champ at the Ali Center. Relying on these promises, and on a promise that Ali Enterprises would deliver 75 pieces of memorabilia to help with expenses, Silverback says it ponied up $75,000 and promoted the tour, to its cost.

But Silverback says it was able to sell 80 tickets for the tour package, and Holness sold none. Silverback said it asked for the event to be rescheduled, which made "his contacts at the Ali Center ... extremely angry".

It claims that "Holness cautioned Silverback against attempting to directly speak with the Ali Center and instead promised to discuss the matter in person with his contacts at the Ali Center. ... Unbeknownst to Silverback at the time, however, when Mr. Holness met with representatives of the Ali Center, he made arrangements with the defendants to schedule an alternate competing event involving Muhammad Ali making personal appearances in the United States at events promoted by [a] separate business entity owned by Mr. Holness - Mammoth Events and Management."

Mammoth is not named as a party to the complaint. But Silverback claims Holness and Mammoth set up a competing event, in the United Kingdom, and that the Ali Center handed over to Mammoth 17 items of Ali memorabilia that it should have delivered to Silverback.

Silverback claims, "the Ali Center reneged upon its promise to give Silverback its own event at the Ali Center and refused to return Silverback's money and property."

Silverback claims the whole fiasco cost it money and time and hurt its reputation.

It demands an injunction ordering the Ali Center to "return or replace" 17 more items of Ali memorabilia, and punitive damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, interference, conversion and promissory estoppel. Silverback is represented by Kevan Doran.

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