RFD-TV wrongly withholding winnings from The American rodeo, lawsuit says
Hicks Thomas, LLP News Release
AMARILLO, Texas, Feb. 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Rodeo professional Reese Riemer of Stinnett, Texas, has sued rodeo organizers Rural Media Group Inc. of Gretna, Nebraska, and RMG Events LLC of Nashville, Tennessee, for failing to pay his winnings from RFD-TV's 2015 The American rodeo competition.
Billed as the largest one-day rodeo in history, The American was held March 1, 2015, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with winners in each individual competition guaranteed $100,000 in prize money. In a format unique to The American, a $1 million "side pot" also was guaranteed for event winners who qualified through preliminary competitions. A tie-down roper, Mr. Riemer was publicly recognized as one of two qualifiers to share in the supplemental $1 million prize when the competition ended.
"The incredible thing about this case is the fact that, even as we sit here today, the RFD Network publicly acknowledges and proclaims Reese as the winner of the event," says attorney John B. Thomas of the Houston-based litigation boutique Hicks Thomas, LLP, counsel for Mr. Riemer. "There is simply no legal justification for their failure to pay him."
Following The American, Mr. Riemer was flown to Nashville for interviews on RFD-TV. It was only after the interviews were completed that officials notified Mr. Riemer that a stop payment was placed on the check for his winnings.
The lawsuit says RFD-TV relied on rumors of an alleged agreement to split the purse when deciding to stop payment on the winner's check. According to Mr. Riemer, he and other cowboys were threatened by RFD-TV CEO Patrick Gottsch. "He called me saying he was going to stop payment on the check and threatened me with jail," says Mr. Riemer.
Mr. Thomas says, "There is no evidence that Reese agreed to share the proceeds, and certainly no basis to suggest that he did anything wrong."
The case is Reese Riemer v. Rural Media Group, et al., No. 2:16-cv-00031-J, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Amarillo.
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