CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- A lawsuit brought by embattled stock car driver Jeremy Mayfield against NASCAR in 2009 is raising some serious legal issues for the organization's chief executive.
In a recent motion filed in federal court, Mayfield accused NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian Z. France, while under the influence of alcohol, of ordering race officials to take Mayfield out of competition in a 2006 race. In support of that motion, Mayfield attached sworn statements from France's former in-laws, Vince and Sandy Garcia. The Garcias claim that during the 2006 "Allstate 400 at the Brickyard" in Indianapolis, France called NASCAR President Mike Helton and ordered him to "black-flag" Mayfield from his home in California, where France had been drinking that day and was under the influence.
Now, a third witness has surfaced with claims that support the Garcias' story. "Any notion that Vince and Sandy Garcia have somehow concocted the 'black-flag' story simply to breathe new life into Jeremy Mayfield's lawsuit is completely false," said Michael J. Miller, a retired prominent business attorney and an acquaintance of the Garcias.
Miller claims that the Garcias first told him of France's infamous 2006 phone call back in March 2008.
Miller also claims that Jeremy Mayfield did not learn of the reason he was taken out of that race until April 2010. "Jeremy has not been sitting on this information," said Miller. According to Miller, Mayfield found out about France's "black-flag" command just weeks before a federal judge in Charlotte dismissed Mayfield's lawsuit in May 2010. Miller says that before Mayfield had time to amend his complaint to include the race-fixing claims against France, the dismissal ruling was issued. After months of legal wrangling, these allegations were finally asserted in Mayfield's September 29, 2010 motion.
In addition to observing that France's alleged conduct might have been illegal, Miller noted the irony of the whole affair, stating, "the very same NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy that's being used to run Jeremy Mayfield out of the sport is what Brian France was allegedly violating during the 2006 'Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.'"
NASCAR's official Rule Book lists eight individuals as "NASCAR Supervisory Officials" for all Events, one of whom is Brian Z. France. Miller noted that as the highest-ranking Supervisory Official, with the ability to phone in instructions to the race tower from wherever he may be, "Brian France is presumably 'on the job' every moment of every NASCAR Event, including the 2006 Indianapolis race."
The NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy states that "[o]n the day of any NASCAR Event, a Competitor or Official who is participating in the Event is prohibited from consuming any alcohol prior to or during an Event or being under the influence of alcohol."
"Clearly," Miller said, "France would have been participating in that Event as an Official" by making such a call to Helton and issuing orders affecting the outcome of the race.
Miller has launched a website with an online petition calling for NASCAR's removal of Brian France from his position as Chairman & CEO. The point of BlackFlagBZF.com's petition, Miller said, is "to call attention to the alleged misconduct of NASCAR's highest officials, and to call upon NASCAR's stakeholders to take swift action to restore the legitimacy of the organization as a competitive enterprise."
"At this point, Brian France has more than just a perception problem," Miller said. "He's facing serious claims of official misconduct and legal wrongdoing which, if proved, demand accountability."
Miller noted that Brian France's legal troubles don't end with the race-fixing allegations. In an evidentiary hearing in federal court during the Mayfield lawsuit in February 2010, allegations under oath were made implicating France in a scheme to violate federal election campaign contribution laws. The facts behind those claims are set forth in detail by Miller at BlackFlagBZF.com.
Miller further stated that, "I'm hopeful that some of the stakeholders within NASCAR—specifically Jim France and Lesa Kennedy France—will take notice of just how much their family's legacy is suffering at the hands of Brian France and Mike Helton."
"It would be a real shame to see the sport of stock car racing go the way of professional wrestling, with the perception that the outcome of a competitive event is scripted or predetermined. I'm convinced that the efforts of BlackFlagBZF.com will help to prevent that from happening," Miller said. "In my opinion, it's Brian Z. France who now needs to be black-flagged—taken 'out of the race' by NASCAR."
Under NASCAR's official rules, the black flag is used by race officials to remove a driver from the track during a race.
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SOURCE Michael Miller, BlackFlagBZF.com