Is your local race a fund-raiser for a charity or an event for an out of state corporation? This lawsuit might decide

Lawsuit claims that race organizer; make money from volunteers and volunteers should be paid. Entire US race and event “business” could change or disappear.

Most events that we love to participate in, attend or watch are owned by for-profit corporations. They make money for a business. Those events are dependent upon hundreds if not thousands of volunteers. Many state or imply a charity, whose name is in the title of the event is the reason for the event, and thus the volunteers are working for the charity.

This lawsuit says that is not quite so. In fact, this lawsuit says most of what I believed and probably a lot of what you believe about these events are not true.

The lawsuit on its face says that the volunteers at these events were misled and should have been paid. On its face, it’s hard to ask for money when you sign up as a volunteer. You agree to volunteer and you are a volunteer, and you don’t get paid.

However, that is not the bottom line here. Based on the article:

·         The entire operation is fraudulent.

·         The volunteers were recruited to provide community service when, in fact, they were not, they were working for a for-profit corporation, not a charity.

·         Charities pay to have their name attached to the event.

·         The more a charity pays, the more the charity is recognized by the event.

·         Teams that raise money for these events Charites, the base money goes to the event, and only the money raised over the minimum goes to the charity.

·         The event then uses the charities name to recruit volunteers for the event.

Is the plaintiff going to win the lawsuit? I have no idea, but allegations of fraud change litigation, throw out the normal defenses and generally create a different courtroom drama. It is never good to be defending someone who looks bad.

However, the major impact may have already occurred. Will people volunteer to sign up for these events as volunteers? Will charities continue to associate with these events and will those charities be linked with the fraud or for the good they do?

Without the thousands of volunteers, these events won’t happen. Entry fees will either skyrocket or go away. Charities may no longer be associated with any of these events because they are simply bad news.

However, I think this lawsuit may have a chance; the plaintiff is an associate professor at the Saint Louis University School of Law.

The damage is already done. Those races and events that have been upfront from the beginning are not going to be affected except by a few volunteers who are not paying attention or confused. However, the big events which rely on thousands of volunteers are either going to change, evolve or go away.

See Lawsuit alleges CGI exploited race volunteers and This Marathon Lawsuit May Shake Up the Running World

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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