Outgames Audit Released

  • by Roger Brigham
  • Sunday August 20, 2017
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Miami Outgames CEO Ivan Cano
Miami Outgames CEO Ivan Cano

An official summary of the long-awaited city audit of the 2017 World Outgames that were canceled at the last minute in May was presented to Miami Beach Commission Tuesday, revealing that organizers had spent almost half ($600,000) of the money the event raised on advertising, promotional fees, and consultants. The summary said that Ivan Cano, the vice president and chief executive officer, was paid almost $107,000 for consulting fees.

Overall, the audit report stated, almost $1.4 million of the trimmed-down $2.4 million budget flowed into Outgames accounts but only $7,000 was left.

"It became apparent that the general ledger was not necessarily accurate as it was found to contain incorrect check numbers and disbursement classification errors," the audit report said. "Compounding matters was the lack of sufficient, complete, and organized documentation."

The audit has been given to the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office and Miami Beach Police Department for further investigation into what, if any, criminal charges should be filed. (See July 6, 2017 JockTalk, " Outgames: A fine mess.")

Numerous creditors still have not been paid substantial amounts. Sales manager Justin M. Wyse of the South Florida Gay News, one of the few publications to have been actively reporting on the event's collapse, told the Bay Area Reporter, "They neglected to pay for the contract of advertising they agreed to. They owed us $2,000 for the contract and failed to list us as an event sponsor as agreed upon digitally and in print."

Sports participants had already paid about half a million dollars by the time Outgames sports program, with three exceptions, was abruptly canceled while hundreds of athletes were still en route. Not only were they out registration and travel costs, many said they are stuck with hotel bills they had already paid when they booked their accommodations through the Outgames website.

Aquatics, western dance, and soccer were all held as scheduled, as were conferences and cultural events, but the rest of the sports were eliminated without notice. Ultimately Outgames spent less than $66,000 on sports.

Auditors reported Outgames spent $296,498 on promotional advertising and $330,218 on consultants. On the two non-sports programs that were successfully held, Lynare Robbins was paid $69,400 to produce the human rights conference and Carol Coombes $57,344 to produce the cultural program.

Activist Justin Bell said his promotions company, Lion Company, received more than $140,000 from Outgames before withdrawing in late 2015 because of delinquent payments, one of which was more than 200 days past due.

The first World Outgames were held in Montreal in 2006 and lost more than $5 million Canadian. The last two World Outgames were held in 2009 in Copenhagen and 2013 in Antwerp. The North American Outgames, a smaller continental event, was canceled last year by host St. Louis. Winnipeg, the host for the 2020 North American Outgames, dropped it following the announcement of the Miami cancellation, saying the brand name is now too toxic to be of value. [See the Jock Talk column online.] Former presidents of the Gay and Lesbian Sports Association have called for the licensing body to put an end to the World Outgames and disband.