Australian to sue Delhi CWG for unpaid bills

Thursday, January 20, 2011

SYDNEY - An Australian company is suing the Delhi Commonwealth Games Organising Committee over unpaid bills, said an official who has given his lawyers the names of other businesses that may want to join the legal action. reported that the Australian company that was behind the opening and closing ceremonies is now taking legal action against the organisers for unpaid bills.

Ric Birch, who was the mastermind behind the opening and closing ceremonies, said that they have not yet been paid for the two events on Oct 3 and 14 last year.

“I supplied the services of 12 people over the course of the year leading up to the Games, which included choreographers, producers and myself as executive producer.

“They’re all production people who were intimately involved in the creation, production and direction of the opening and closing ceremonies,” he was quoted as saying.

Birch said his efforts to get in touch with the organisers of the Delhi CWG were initially ignored.

“Then finally in December I got a very short note from Lalit Bhanot who is secretary general of the organising committee.

“He sent a note saying that now they wanted to claim a performance guarantee because Mr Birch’s performance was not up to the mark. So I am mortified as you can imagine,” he said.

Birch is suing the Delhi CWG Organising Committee in an attempt to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in outstanding fees, the media report said.

He has given his lawyers the names of other businesses that may want to join the legal action.

Birch said: “There were up to 15 other companies involved with the opening ceremony and many more companies involved with the Commonwealth Games overall.

“Of those about half - the individuals, not the corporations - (have been paid) three months late but they were finally paid…But none of the companies have received their payments which were due under contract by the end of October last.”

He went on to say that he had never faced such problems while working on Commonwealth Games or the Olympics in Mexico or China, Barcelona or Los Angeles.

“We had an anagram which came about by the ceremonies that everyone was heartily sick of the Delhi Organising Committee so we decided that India stood for ‘India - I’ll never do it again’,” he said.

Not just the private sector, the Australian Commonwealth Games Association is owed more than $100,000 in travel subsidies, said.

Perry Crosswhite, the association’s chief executive who is also pursuing the Delhi Organising Committee, said: “Besides all the usual letters and calls and so forth, we’re taking the matter up with our international body, which is the Commonwealth Games Federation who are very concerned about it as well.”

“We’ve also (spoken) with the Indian high commissioner to see whether she could help as well and she’s trying to.”

The Organising Committee of the Deli Games, headed by Suresh Kalmadi, has been in trouble in India over a series of corruption scams. Several officials have been suspended and two, T.S. Darbari and Sanjay Mahendroo, are behind bars.

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