Wednesday, 6 October 2004

IMG controversy: `IMG Bharata not part of the Florida academy'

2004
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 6: In a new twist to the ongoing controversy over the alleged scandal in the allotment of 850 acres of prime land to IMG Bharata for a mega sporting complex in the city, the IMG Academies LLP, Florida, on Friday clarified that IMG Bharata was not its subsidiary company in India.
In an email sent to this correspondent, Ted Meekma, senior vice-president of IMG Worldwide Inc. and director of IMG Academies LLP in Bradenton, Florida, said IMG Bharata and IMG Academies East were established by Andrew Krieger.
"IMG Academies East and IMG Academies Bharata are not subsidiaries of IMG Worldwide, Inc. or IMG Academies LLP and IMG Worldwide, Inc. or IMG Academies LLP are not investors or owners in either of these two entities," Ted Meekma said.
Meekma's clarification gains significance in the backdrop of claims made by IMG Bharata that it was a subsidiary of IMG Academies, Florida. Billy Rao and Andrew Krieger all through have been maintaining that their company was in fact a unit of the Florida-based sporting giant. Based on their claims, the previous TD government entered into an MoU with IMG Bharata for establishment of world class sporting facilities in Hyderabad. The company was allotted 850 acres to create the facilities.
The Congress government, which has ordered a CBI probe after cancelling the land allocation to IMG Bharata, has been describing Krieger as a "money swindler" and Billy Rao as an "academic cheat". Since the government believed that these two promoters of IMG Bharata had a "shady" past, it cancelled the land allocation and ordered a CBI probe. Government Chief Whip N Kiran Kumar Reddy had described IMG Bharata as a benami firm of TD chief N Chandrababu Naidu.
Meekma, however, said in his message that though the Florida company did not own IMG Bharata, it had "affiliation" with Krieger.
"IMG Academies LLP, a division of IMG Worldwide, Inc., has been under contract for licensing and consulting with Krieger's IMG Academies East entity for over three years. Our contract calls for us to license our well-known/respected brands, systems and techniques, and consult on the design, staffing, programming and operations of a multi-sport training/educational complex to be built in Hyderabad (by the entity called IMG Academies Bharata) but not owned by IMG Worldwide, Inc," he pointed out.
It might be recalled that Meekma and IMGA LLP co-director Greg Breunich visited Hyderabad during the MoU signing ceremony at Jubilee Hall. Then Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu too attended the programme and addressed a joint press conference.
The IMG Academies LLP has now expressed its willingness to take over the project and complete it. "We, IMGA LLP, are ready to execute upon these plans and live up to our contractual obligations," Meekma said.
He said he had written letters to the State government clarifying IMGA LLP's association with Krieger and his IMG Academies East/Bharata entities. Referring to Krieger's plans to raise/invest 150 million US dollars for growth of sports training, education and tourism in Hyderabad, the IMG Academies LLP senior vice-president said "we are enthusiastic" about this project.
"I would think that this type of potential investment within your community would be embraced and appreciated," he said.
Sports Minister M Satyanarayana Rao, when contacted, said since the State Cabinet had decided to cancel the land allocation and had ordered a CBI inquiry, the government would consider the IMG Academies, Florida, only after the completion of the probe. "Let the probe be finished first. Then we can think of what we should do," he said.

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Government's Reaction
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Hyderabad, Oct 19: Government chief whip N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Thursday said he would submit before the Central Bureau of Investigation all documents relating to the IMG Bharata deal with the previous Telugu Desam government as also the "background" of the company promoters.
Reacting sharply to reports that IMG Bharata had planned to serve a legal notice on him for his utterances on the IMG deal, Kiran Kumar Reddy told reporters at CLP office here that he had a set of documents which would put the company in the dock.
"I have been waiting for the legal notice. Let them serve it on me. Let the trial be held in London. I am prepared for it. I have documentary evidence on the shady deals of the company and its promoters. The documents will be submitted to the CBI," Kiran Kumar Reddy pointed out.
He said he wanted to study the way court proceedings are conducted in London and hence was ready for a trial there. The IMG Bharata had allegedly warned of taking up a trial in the USA against the State government and the chief whip suggested that it be held in London.
Kiran Kumar Reddy has been levelling charges against IMG Bharata in and out of the State Assembly and even went to the extent of terming it as a benami firm of TD supremo N Chandrababu Naidu.

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Text of Ted Meekma's letter
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My name is Ted Meekma. I am an IMG Worldwide Inc. Senior Vice President, and Director of IMG Academies LLP (IMGA LLP) in Bradenton, Florida. In response to recent newspaper articles and an A.P. Cabinet press note, I would like to, once again, set the record straight relative to IMG Worldwide, Inc.'s and IMGA LLP's relationship with IMG Academies East and its subsidiary IMG Academies Bharata, two entities established by Mr. Andrew Krieger.

IMGA LLP, a division of IMG Worldwide, Inc., has been under contract for licensing and consulting with Mr. Krieger's IMG Academies East entity for over three years. Our contract calls for us to license our well-known/respected brands, systems and techniques, and consult on the design, staffing, programming and operations of a multi-sport training/educational complex to be built in Hyderabad (by the entity called IMG Academies Bharata) but not owned by IMG Worldwide, Inc.

IMG Academies East and IMG Academies Bharata are not subsidiaries of IMG Worldwide, Inc. or IMGA LLP, and IMG Worldwide, Inc./IMGA LLP are not investors or owners in either of these two entities. However, there are connections and a clear affiliation between Mr. Krieger's entities and our own (as specifically noted above).

Mr. Krieger is a long time friend and associate of IMGA LLP. We share in his vision to bring world-class training to Hyderabad and our support of his IMG Academies Bharata project is well defined and documented.

My IMGA LLP Co-director, Greg Breunich and I traveled to Hyderabad, toured the site, met with A.P. Government officials, attended a signing ceremony and answered press questions about our commitment/involvement with this IMG Academies Bharata project.I attended a New York press conference with other senior IMG Worldwide, Inc. officials to the same end, and sent IMG Worldwide, Inc.'s Greg Sproule (based at the time in Singapore) to attend a simultaneous press event on my behalf in Hyderabad.

My IMGA LLP colleague, Jamal Pritchard spent four months in Hyderabad working on this project. He and I have collaborated with Mr. Krieger's architects and master planners on countless occasions, in an effort to perfect the ideal plan for this exciting complex.We, IMGA LLP, are ready to execute upon these plans and live up to our contractual obligations. We have learned, however, that IMG Academies Bharata's requests for permits to begin construction have been ignored.

As an employee of IMG Worldwide, Inc., I have approved press releases and written letters to the press and to the A. P Government clarifying IMGA LLP's association with Mr. Krieger and his IMG Academies East/Bharata entities. Why these actions have not been enough to quiet the critics who have doubted IMGA LLP's contractual association to IMG Academies Bharata, I do not know. But for whatever reason, my September '05 letter to the A.P. Government went unanswered and unacknowledged.

I welcome questions or comments from anyone who needs further validation of our connection to this project. I should also point out that it is our understanding, and we are enthusiastic about Mr. Krieger's readiness to raise/invest $150 million for the growth of sports training, education and tourism in Hyderabad via this IMG Academies Bharata initiative. I would think that this type of potential investment within your community would be embraced and appreciated.

Respectfully,

Ted Meekma
Senior Vice President, IMG Worldwide, Inc.
Director IMG Academies LLP

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