Following on from the announcement that the 2006 San Francisco Grand Prix will be cancelled due to ongoing conflict with the city relating to unpaid bills, race director David Chauner described the current environment as a "no-win situation".
"Despite the overwhelming popularity of the San Francisco Grand Prix, we have had to evaluate its financial viability in terms of the market conditions, potential for revenue and cost of running a world class race in order to determine if it makes sense to continue let alone ever turn a profit. Sadly it’s a no-win situation and we simply cannot go forward. Few companies will sponsor a politically-charged event."
The city's Board of Supervisors said San Francisco Cycling LLC should not have not have been issued a permit for the 2006 event, originally scheduled for September 10, when policing bills totalling $89,924 were still yet to be paid from this year's race. San Francisco Cycling and the office of Mayor Gavin Newsom have argued they were only mailed the amount outstanding from the city's Department of Public Works a day before their meeting with the board.
Said operations director Jerry Casale: "We were faxed the final and adjusted SFPD bill for $89,924 for the first time on November 10, 2005, just one working day prior to that meeting, all other city charges had been paid before we got our ISCOTT permit for the 2005 race, it wouldn't have been issued otherwise. And then they said we were late and purposely avoiding payment. That's simply not true."
"That [the event] is being flushed down the toilet so some politicians can make a political point," spokesman for the Mayor, Peter Ragone said to the San Francisco Chronicle.
However, supervisor Aaron Peskin said the event has been cancelled due to San Francisco Cycling's inability to pay monies owing to the city, colourfully describing the race organiser as "a bad actor that has repeatedly refused to pay its bills, or pay them on time." Peskin added that "San Francisco will be just as well off" with the Tour of California set to make its debut next year from February 19-26, 2006.
"The most outspoken supervisor calls this 'corporate welfare' and ignores the value the event brings to the city and to the many restaurants, hotels and businesses that benefit from race-related events," said Chauner.