Updated Again: AMA Rep On FIM Motocross Commission Admits He Was Paid $23,800 By Motocross de Nations Promoter

Updated Again: AMA Rep On FIM Motocross Commission Admits He Was Paid $23,800 By Motocross de Nations Promoter

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Bill Amick, a former full-time AMA employee who was allowed to maintain his position as the AMA representative to the FIM Motocross Commission after his termination by former AMA President Rob Rasor in 2004, was paid almost $25,000 by the promoter of the 2007 Motocross de Nations in Maryland. Sources close to the promoter say that Amick did nothing related to actual promotion of the event to justify receiving the money. According to FIM sources, in addition to representing the AMA on the FIM Motocross Commission, Amick personally obtained the rights to any FIM World Championship Motocross or Motocross de Nations event on U.S. soil, as a subcontractor to Youthstream, the Italian company that has launched a bid to take over AMA Motocross. To hold the 2007 Motocross de Nations, the race promoter was required to pay Amick a fee of $1 per ticket sold, which came to about $23,800. Also after his full-time AMA employment ended, Amick was being paid a quarterly fee by the AMA to represent it in matters concerned with FIM Speedway. Yesterday, Amick made public a copy of his letter to AMA and FIM officials submitting his “resignation as the AMA’s representative on the FIM Motocross Commission.” Amick attributed the resignation to “health problems” but also blasted current and past AMA management and the AMA Board of Directors, claiming that he had “become more and more disillusioned with the manner in which the AMA has been managed in recent years. Even if I was up to the work at hand, I can no longer muster enthusiasm for the task in the light of the association’s misdirection by a scandal-ridden board with a track record of ruthless meddling with its human resources and for hiring incompetents…I don’t have the stomach to continue to represent an AMA which has no place for the likes of Ed Youngblood, Greg Harrison, and other quality leaders who have been fired or forced to resign so that a handful of small people can try in vain to fill a void in leadership with their inflated egos.” Youngblood was the AMA President who resigned in disgrace as a byproduct of a scandal that led to former joint-venture partner Roger Edmondson winning a $3.2 million judgement against the Association in 1999. Youngblood and other members of the AMA old guard are rebelling publicly against current AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman’s moves to make employees accountable. At post time, Amick had not returned a 2:34 p.m. PST phone call from Roadracingworld.com reporter Michael Gougis seeking comment; Gougis’ cell phone log shows that the duration of the call was 1 minute 35 seconds, the time it took for him to leave Amick a message to call him back about the issue at hand. More, from a reader: FIRST PERSON/OPINION Via e-mail: After reading your recent post regarding the “public” letter from Bill Amick criticizing the AMA and its management, I stand further amazed. After what appears to be decades of stagnant growth in most, if not all areas of the AMA, which can only be attributed to incompetence on the behalf of those responsible for said growth, I am stunned that the former employees that were fired actually seem to feel that they are owed something by the AMA for “showing up for work every day.” 20+ years of stagnant/0% growth, and the ex AMA employees feel everything was fine. Hell, Ebay is only going to grow 3% in 2008, and they are having a corporate heart attack. With the apparent theft of AMA money by the former Chairman of the board Dal Smilie, and today the disclosure of what initially appears to be a MAJOR conflict of interest by Bill Amick in personally securing rights for himself to an event that he is paid by the AMA to represent the AMA on, I am shocked by his attitude of entitlement regarding all of this. I think that Rob Dingman is right on in his efforts, and I think that every AMA member should be saying thank you to him for apparently being the first person in 25 years to actually do his job honestly and openly. It also pleases me to no end to see all of the “Good ole’ boys” be held accountable for their jobs and AMA members’ money. It is good to see that Dingman seems to be actually doing what he is expected to be doing, namely his job, competently. As far as selling off the rights to the Superbike series, I think he is probably on the right track as well, after seeing the success of BSB, World Superbike, MotoGP, Supercross, etc. I would suspect that the few outside companies that complained about the solicitation process were probably pissed as they thought that they had some kind of inside deal cut with the former AMA employees that Dingman axed. Working in the real world, when I bid on a contract, it is held in confidence during the review process, and once that is done and a contract is awarded, all bids or proposals are made public at that time, and any losing bidder may make a protest at that time. So for all of the people that seem to be upset by Rob Dingman’s efforts to date, I would suggest that you are either a former AMA staffer, or about to be a former AMA staffer. By the way, can the AMA sue Amick for fraud, as he was being paid as an employee of the AMA to represent the AMA while in reality it appears he was representing himself personally at the AMA’s expense? That ticket revenue from the Motocross Des Nations promoter should have gone to the AMA. I look forward to the next former AMA employee showing his ass in writing, as it makes good reading. Keep digging up the whole truth on these former AMA employees. It is simply a confirmation that hiring Dingman was the right move at the right time. Rob Dingman, thank you, and keep up the good work. Mark Lewellen Ozark, Missouri And now a response from Bill Amick, who did not answer or return a call made to his office by Roadracingworld.com’s Michael Gougis at 2:34 p.m. PST Thursday, February 21 nor a second phone call made to his office by Roadracingworld.com’s Michael Gougis at 9:34 a.m. PST on Friday, February 22. In his response, Amick justifies personally taking over the U.S. promotional rights to Motocross World Championship and Motocross de Nations events and being paid $23,800 by a promoter while serving as the AMA’s representative to FIM Motocross Commission and as such being involved in the decision as to where said events can be held in the U.S.: FIRST PERSON/OPINION Via e-mail: Your post to the contrary, I have been in my office most of the day and all evening, and have not received any calls, messages or emails from anyone at Roadracing World on my office phone, home phone or cell phone. I do not know Michael Gougis and have never spoken to him or corresponded with him. So I will take this opportunity to respond in writing to your grossly misleading post. Since you have seen fit to paint me and my business dealings in a tabloid-style, unsavory light, I would ask that you print my responses to your various points in their entirety. I grant permission to post them only on that basis. “Bill Amick, a former full-time AMA employee who was allowed to maintain his position as the AMA representative to the FIM Motocross Commission after his termination by former AMA President Rob Rasor in 2004, was paid almost $25,000 by the promoter of the 2007 Motocross de Nations in Maryland.” I resigned from the AMA, although you would have been correct if you had reported that my resignation was not voluntary. I am bound by a confidentiality clause inserted in the separation agreement by the AMA and cannot disclose my severance package. I can tell you, however, that the agreement called for me to continue my duties for the AMA on the FIM Motocross Commission through the end of 2004, at which point I would resign from the commission. Subsequently, and by mutual agreement, I continued to serve on the commission at the AMA’s pleasure. Every delegate on every FIM commission serves under a “mandate” from their national federation, in this case the AMA, and my tenure on the commission could have been ended at any time with a one sentence letter from the AMA to the FIM. If you will check the facts, my term on the motocross commission ended in 2005, at which time the AMA submitted my name to the FIM for another four-year term. So let’s get the facts straight: I wasn’t “allowed” to serve, I was asked to do so…and I was pleased to do so. I was a member of the motocross commission from 1986 until my resignation earlier this week. I would refer you to the FIM management, to commission president Wolfgang Srb, to any of the fine people on the commission or to the race promoters with whom I have worked for any thoughts they might have about the quality of my work. The atmosphere of fear under which my former colleagues at the AMA now work has degraded to the point that I no longer want to be associated with the AMA, which I loved and served well for 30+ years. If you could review my personnel file at the AMA you would find 30 years of exemplary performance reviews, including one not long before my resignation was demanded. I’m as imperfect as the next guy and I have made a lot of mistakes over the years, but I’m proud of my “body of work” and have worked hard for every cent I have made. “Sources close to the promoter say that Amick did nothing related to actual promotion of the event to justify receiving the money.” I suggest that you cease your reliance on unnamed sources and go after facts with regard to the Motocross of Nations. More on this point below. According to FIM sources, in addition to representing the AMA on the FIM Motocross Commission, Amick personally obtained the rights to any FIM World Championship Motocross or Motocross de Nations event on U.S. soil, as a subcontractor to Youthstream, the Italian company that has launched a bid to take over AMA Motocross. My first involvement with Youthstream was as a consultant, and the very first people I called to inform of that relationship were Rob Rasor (AMA President) and Scott Hollingsworth (AMA Pro Racing CEO). The relationship was publicly announced in a news release and was reported in the motorcycle media. There was full disclosure with both the AMA and the FIM and it did not interfere with my duties as AMA’s representative on the motocross commission. If the AMA had been troubled by my consulting work it could have removed me from the FIM commission with the stroke of a pen. I was reimbursed for FIM-related travel by the AMA when I was on AMA business (attending the FIM Conference Meetings each February and the FIM Congress each October). I was reimbursed by the FIM for travel to events (6-8 a year on average) at which I served as FIM Jury President or FIM Jury member. During the time I was an AMA employee concurrent with my motocross commission duties, I received my normal AMA salary when traveling on FIM business, the same as every other AMA employee whose duties for the AMA included FIM service. In other words, my job responsibilities at the AMA included my FIM service, as was specifically noted in my job description. Since leaving the AMA staff, I have not been paid and have not asked for payment from the AMA for my services on the motocross commission. Reimbursement by the AMA and the FIM for travel has continued in keeping with the current policies of those organizations. My time — on average 50-60 days per year — has been donated. “To hold the 2007 Motocross de Nations, the race promoter was required to pay Amick a fee of $1 per ticket sold, which came to about $23,800.” Under a separate agreement with Youthstream, in 2005 my company (Heartland Media and Events) acquired the rights to promote the Motocross of Nations in the United States. This was at a time when virtually no one in America, the AMA included, expressed any interest in the event. Even those who were supportive in principal were vocal in their opinion that if held the event would be a failure. I was not paid for my time and effort bringing the event to the USA. In the course of more than a year of legwork, I absorbed all of my travel costs for meetings, which included all of the major motocross manufacturers except KTM (already in favor of the event based on its strong European ties). I traveled to six existing motocross facilities and to five “non traditional” sites, some more than once, to discuss the Motocross of Nations opportunity. Several other promoters were contacted by phone. I offered to “give” the event to the AMA or partner with the AMA if it was interested in taking in all or part of the risk of the promotion…it wasn’t. Numerous requests for a meeting with the National Promoters Group were politely declined. All of this transpired with no assurance of any return for my efforts. In the end, I started back where I had begun with the negotiations — with Jonathan Beasley and Budds Creek Motocross Park. Jonathan had a well-established AMA National and has always had great passion for FIM Motocross. I was the primary writer and hammered out three agreements which were essential to the event: one among Budds Creek, Youthstream and my company; one between Budds Creek and Youthstream; and a sanctioning agreement between the AMA and Budds Creek. Only then was I assured of any kind of payday on the project. Budds Creek was by far at the greatest financial risk with this event, and I’m very proud of Jonathan’s efforts which resulted in a great attendance of 23,000-plus. Likewise, Youthstream would have been out a lot of money if the attendance had not been strong. Financially, I was a small player in the equation. My fees were clearly spelled out and fully understood by Youthstream and Budds Creek. No money changed hands between the AMA and my company. The terms of our agreements were entered into willingly by all parties and frankly are no one else’s business. Again, though, you might get things straight by going to real sources, not ones hiding behind anonymity. I had a very difficult year in 2007 because of health issues and was not able to meet all of the obligations I had for roughly 90 days before the event. Although I was in no way required to adjust my fees, I willingly did so. Start to finish, I worked hard for my money on the project. Jonathan and Youthstream took most of the risk and deserve full praise for their management of the event. But it is very doubtful that it would have taken place — and certainly not in 2007 — if Giuseppe Luongo and Youthstream hadn’t given me the opportunity to jump start the project, manage most of the negotiations and serve as a go-between on the massive facility upgrades Jonathan made in order to host the event. But don’t take my word or the word of your unnamed source. Call Jonathan Beasley and Giuseppe Luongo and ask them about our relationships. I consider both to be good friends and will never forget that they stood by me when I was ill. I have never had dealings with Jon or Giuseppe in which they have been anything other than honest businessmen. If you took the trouble to ask, I’d like to believe they will tell you same about me. “Also after his full-time AMA employment ended, Amick was being paid a quarterly fee by the AMA to represent it in matters concerned with FIM Speedway.” I am a Speedway enthusiast and I “inherited” responsibility for the AMA’s Speedway program upon the death of Bill Boyce, who was a wonderful man and a great friend. I believed that the fragmented nature of the sport in the USA could be improved with a national organization, affiliated with the AMA, to represent the riders and promoters. After I left the AMA’s employ, I opened negotiations with the AMA and with Speedway promoters that went on for more than a year — all at my own expense and with no certainty of any return. Many people were supportive, most notably promoter Dave Joiner, current USA Speedway chairman Howie Zechner and Brian Gaines in the Midwest, and USA Speedway was formally launched in the spring of 2006. At the first Board of Directors meeting (in April of 2006) I presented the Board with what I viewed as their two best options to staff USA Speedway. The first was to rely entirely on volunteer staff. The second was to hire an Executive Director. I offered to step away from the project without any compensation whatsoever for the several hundred hours of groundwork and the travel expenses I had incurred. Alternately, I offered my services as Executive Director if the Board wanted me to serve in that position. They met in private and offered me the job, which I gladly accepted. My compensation package was modest and every cent that was invested in launching the organization — and keeping it going even though it was in the red — came out of my pocket. When memberships and sanctions began to come in, the organization began to come close to breaking even, but I continued to absorb the red ink. When I left USA Speedway the organization owed me a fairly substantial amount of money, most of which I absorbed because I still believed in USA Speedway and because it would have had to go deep in a hole to pay me what our contract stipulated. Speedway is important to me, and anyone who’s walked in my footsteps will confirm that it is very difficult to make a “niche” organization work. USA Speedway was a labor of love for me. I left only because of my health problems and on good terms and wish them well in every way. As to the $2,500 quarterly fee you mentioned, because USA Speedway relieved the AMA of its day-to-day work for Speedway, I.e. sanctioning, rulesmaking, membership management, promoter relations and so on, the AMA agreed to pay that quarterly fee to USA Speedway, which in turn became part of my compensation package. The AMA approved the Code of Regulations of USA Speedway and had a permanent seat on the Board of Directors. There were no secrets among me, USA Speedway and the AMA. I have never done the math precisely but would be surprised if my compensation from USA Speedway (which included no benefits) came to much more than minimum wage at the end of the day. That’s why I resent your implication of some wrongdoing on my part. Perhaps your time as an AMA Board member would be better spent watching each other’s expense accounts rather than my one-man nickel-and-dime operation. Any objective observer will see that my duties extended well beyond your claim of “US involvement in FIM Speedway.” Furthermore, every party to which I was providing services, whether volunteer or paid, was fully informed. The AMA, the FIM, Youthstream and USA Speedway were all in the know on who I was working with and none of them had any objections. As was the case with my FIM commission work, the AMA was firmly in the driver’s seat. The code of regulations of USA Speedway specifically required that the organization be affiliated to the AMA, and the AMA had the right to sever that relationship at any time. In fact, I made it abundantly clear to both USA Speedway and the AMA that I would not be involved in any way unless USA Speedway was and remained an AMA affiliate. I find it interesting that you expressed no interest, much less concern, about any of my dealings with the AMA at the time. It appears that you developed a sudden interest only when I criticized AMA’s management and the board on which you serve. Instead of offering a single word to counter what I said, you went into attack mode with unsubstantiated claims and innuendo that are an insult to anyone who knows the real facts or bothers to ask. “Yesterday, Amick made public a copy of his letter to AMA and FIM officials submitting his ‘resignation as the AMA’s representative on the FIM Motocross Commission.’ “Amick attributed the resignation to ‘health problems’ but also blasted current and past AMA management and the AMA Board of Directors, claiming that he had ‘become more and more disillusioned with the manner in which the AMA has been managed in recent years. Even if I was up to the work at hand, I can no longer muster enthusiasm for the task in the light of the association’s misdirection by a scandal-ridden board with a track record of ruthless meddling with its human resources and for hiring incompetents…I don’t have the stomach to continue to represent an AMA which has no place for the likes of Ed Youngblood, Greg Harrison, and other quality leaders who have been fired or forced to resign so that a handful of small people can try in vain to fill a void in leadership with their inflated egos.'” I would prefer that you would have printed my letter of resignation in it (sic) entirety, but in any case I stand by it even though it was one of the most difficult letters I have ever written. As anyone I worked with at the AMA in 30+ years will tell you, I lived and breathed AMA, not only when I was employed but for another 4+ years since I left the staff. For me to put those words on paper meant severing ties with an organization that has meant the world to me for my entire adult life. Those who believe that the AMA’s current leadership is guiding the association into a bright future are horribly misinformed or naive. The current atmosphere among staff members is not unlike third grade at a private school that still raps knuckles with rulers and requires a hall pass to go to the john. There are still some great people there, including some who have been brought in by the new regime. But the camaraderie that the AMA staff enjoyed for many years, through good times and bad, is as dead as the hand shifter. Anyone who understands the dynamics of a membership association knows that such camaraderie, both at the staff level and in staff-membership dealings, is essential to long-term success. The AMA I loved was the one we had to leave by 11 pm or the alarm would go off. Today, there’s a stampede for the door at 4:30 and you can shoot a cannon at 6 without risk of injuries. What has been a labor of love for hundreds of AMA employees since 1924 has become the equivalent of a never-ending root canal for those who still soldier on and try to make a difference. Also vital to any association is institutional memory — a real understanding of the association’s history, its philosophy, its accomplishments, and most importantly its mistakes. Through no fault of the AMA’s middle management and its foot soldiers, the association’s institutional memory has been tossed out like yesterday’s trash and has degraded to the point it resembles an Alzheimer’s patient who knows his name but can’t remember what he had for breakfast. The AMA’s aimless Board of Directors and its ongoing string of bad hires can’t be fixed by firing everyone with any experience and then blaming them for the problems. “Youngblood was the AMA President who resigned in disgrace as a byproduct of a scandal that led to former joint-venture partner Roger Edmondson winning a $3.2 million judgement against the Association in 1999. Youngblood and other members of the AMA old guard are rebelling publicly against current AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman’s moves to make employees accountable.” This could not be less truthful. Ed Youngblood was a key AMA leader — and a greatly respected one — for more than 30 years. He helped bring the AMA back from financial ruin in the early 70s, managed AMA’s government relations program in what history will show were its most productive and effective years, and served with distinction as AMA President. True enough, he was the President at the time of the Edmonson (sic) debacle, and that too will be part of his legacy when someone writes it objectively after we’re dead and gone. But to suggest that the Edmonson (sic) suit belongs squarely on Youngblood’s doorstep is simplistic and inaccurate. Actions by members of the AMA Board and of AMA Pro Racing’s staff factored big-time in that equation. Roger Edmonson (sic) is a shrewd guy. Shame on the AMA for falling into a trap, but it’s a trap Youngblood tried to get the AMA out of as painlessly as possible, not one that he created. As for Ed leaving the AMA “in disgrace,” it must have been some cosmic accident that he was subsequently inducted into the AMA’s Motorcycle Hall of Fame and was a great ambassador for the AMA until he became disgusted with its current state of affairs. I worked for Ed Youngblood for a lot a years and I know him a lot better than the pundits who enjoy taking cheap shots. I suspect that working for Ed was a little bit like being a New York Yankee under Billy Martin. Martin had an incendiary personality, but he knew baseball inside and out and he could flat out manage. Ed was also hot tempered at times. On more than one occasion I had heated arguments with him and on at least one occasion I was a little surprised neither of us threw a punch. That was in part because our management styles were different, but mainly because we were both passionate about the AMA. I got mad at Ed a lot, and I made him mad a lot, but never for one minute did I lose my respect for him. I’m proud to call him a friend. Ed is not only one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, but also one of the straightest shooters. It was a privilege to work with him and it literally makes me sick to hear him attacked by people with institutional memories of about 15 minutes whose contributions to motorcycling in America pale before his. You and your colleagues have the privilege of overseeing the AMA only because people like Ed Youngblood saved it from financial ruin…and because a loyal staff not only accepted wage freezes when times were tough, but who willingly took deep pay cuts because we thought our work mattered. I hope and pray the AMA will again be a place people want to work in the future, but it doesn’t look good. The view from a board room without windows and with a closed door is not a likely route to enlightenment. “At post time, Amick had not returned a phone call from Roadracingworld.com reporter Michael Gougis seeking comment.” At my “post time,” several hours after your website story appeared, I still hadn’t gotten a call from Michael or anyone else associated with Roadracing World. But it’s just as well that you don’t call. I learned years ago that any comments made to your publication should be made in writing. I hope you’ll have the decency to print this in its entirety, respond as you like, include input from people who have the guts to go on the record, and let the AMA members among your readership decide. Bill Amick Mount Vernon, Ohio This just in: After denying he had received any phone messages asking him to call Roadracingworld.com’s Michael Gougis, Bill Amick returned the calls to Roadracingworld.com at 10:27 a.m. Friday, and said that he did not get a message left for him Thursday, but did get the message left for him on Friday. “I have nothing more to add beyond what I wrote to you, and in the future, I’ll communicate with your publication in writing,” Amick told Gougis. “That way, there’s no misunderstandings about what I’ve said.”

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