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Uncensored CΛRT Commentary
by Ed Donath

I don’t recall…

ATHENS, NY—Stunning recent developments on the hither-to-fore Left coast not withstanding, insurmountable shortfalls have plagued open-wheel racing of late to an even greater extent than the State of California’s potential bankruptcy has perplexed its citizenry.

Watchdog groups constantly attempt to motivate taxpayers by exposing the kind of government waste exemplified by $957 pork barrel Pentagon screwdrivers and gold leaf-emblazoned toilet seats for Congressional washrooms, but, sadly, our collective nature is to shut up—not put up—when it comes time to pull the trigger on the wastrels and scoundrels who misuse our public funds.

Similarly, CΛRT was a publicly funded entity for several years before its first-and-only whistleblower, major stockholder Jonathan Vannini, ever contacted the Securities Exchange Commission on behalf of his fellow MPH: NYSE shareholders.

As if the Barber Dodge Pro Series driver’s allegations of conflict of interest involving major stockholders, suppliers, promoters, and company executives weren’t enough to warrant a Stock Market Police investigation, the Champ Car Company always had a stronger-than-normal potential for insider trading as a result of the majority of its insiders’ sheer proximity to one another.

Nonetheless, I don’t recall ever seeing a detailed report of specific malfeasances, other than a well-publicized pre-hire resume exaggeration, which led to the year-too-late termination of former CEO Joseph Heitzler.

Furthermore, the conditions of a recent settlement of CΛRT’s suit/counter-suit versus Heitzler will likely preclude, forever, the realization that Vannini’s suspicions about this most despicable character in the company’s history—as well as my own—were more than correct.

It’s already too good for the lame jargonmeister that he is still employed in a Champ Car-related business—heading up the organization co-owned by Gerald Forsythe that runs the facilities and promotions of the huge Telmex/Gigante Grand Prix of Monterrey and of Mexico City—but now Uncle Joe has received his undeserved golden parachute plus additional settlement cash to fall back on should his current benefactor ever wake up and smell the coffee.

And where should “accountability” begin if not in the Accounting Department? Current CFO/VP Finance and long-time CΛRT employee Thomas Carter, has supposedly earned his $215k annual salary by overseeing the bookkeeping of the Champ Car Company and preparing and presenting quarterly reports for its stockholders.

By now, you’d think Tommy the Pencil knows where every skeleton is buried—including whether the accounting and business practices of his predecessor, Randy K. Dzierzawski, were ever the rightful subject of SEC scrutiny. But again, I don’t recall ever seeing anything that resembles a watchdog’s report emanating from the office of the accountability manager.

We know full well that the doling-out of Grandpa Chris’ financial incentives to the teams was the double-edged sword that both rescued CΛRT’s ’03 racing season and, simultaneously, provided the straw that broke the camel’s back which led, finally, to the company’s insolvency.

Perhaps someday we’ll know who ordered and sat upon the gold leaf-emblazoned toilet seat and what, if any, excesses might have exacerbated the money-burning ways of the latter day Champ Car Company.

For now, however, in the absence of a post mortem report, we’ll just have to be happy “recalling” the good times we’ve always had in spite of CΛRT’s ever-questionable management.

Copyright © 2003 by Ed Donath and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

Ed Donath Archive

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