Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office sues Pittsburgh regatta organizer |

Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office sues Pittsburgh regatta organizer

Bob Bauder
Jet Ski Freestyle Championships will be a part of the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta Aug. 2-4. Jet Ski Freestyle Championships were scheduled for the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta this week. Event officials canceled the regatta on Tuesday.

The Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office is suing a company officials blamed for this week’s cancellation of the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta in an attempt to collect more than $30,000 that it says it’s owed for providing security during two 2018 events.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court contends LionHeart Event Group owes a total of $32,978.06 for security services it provided during the 2018 regatta and EQT Flashes of Freedom Celebrate America fireworks display on July 4.

“We had several conversations with LionHeart and multiple correspondences requesting the money,” said Chief Deputy Kevin Kraus. “We were offered assurances that the money was forthcoming. However, we never received payment for the invoices we sent.”

Regatta officials Tuesday canceled the signature event held in the city since 1978, saying LionHeart and its owner Derek Weber failed to secure required permits, insurance and vendors.

The regatta is conducting an audit to determine how LionHeart spent event revenue provided mainly by corporate sponsors. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has said it typically costs around $800,000 to stage the three-day event and speculated the audit would uncover a trail of unpaid bills “well into the six figures.”

Pittsburgh police launched a criminal investigation Wednesday into Weber’s activities.

LionHeart owes the city $28,000 for police services during regattas in 2017 and 2018, according to city officials. It also owes the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources $6,499 for the use of space at Point State Park this year, according to a park official.

Weber, 43, of Ross, has not responded to repeated attempts to contact him.

Kraus said the Sheriff’s Office refused a request from Weber to supply deputies for this year’s regatta. He said recent attempts to reach Weber have been unsuccessful.

“Initially he stated it was an oversight, an administrative error, and he acknowledged the alleged error and said payment would be sent,” Kraus said. “It was never sent.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-564-3080, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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