Editorial: Regatta board needed to trust but verify | TribLIVE.com
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Editorial: Regatta board needed to trust but verify

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Festivals that over-promise, over-commit and under-deliver to the point of investigations and public outcry are becoming all too common.

The Fyre Festival has become synonymous with fraud. The “luxury music festival” planned for 2017 in the Bahamas was canceled at the last minute amid broken promises.

Sounds something like Tuesday’s announcement about the cancellation of the Three Rivers Regatta, doesn’t it?

The event’s board of directors realized late last week that vendors hadn’t been paid and insurance had not been secured. A release said LionHeart Event Group “misrepresented the status.” Board member and attorney Charles Scholz said the blame “lies solely” with the promoter.

So how could this happen?

It’s not a new event. This weekend was supposed to be the 42nd running of the annual river festival with fast boats and live music.

It’s not a new company. LionHeart has been the promoter for three years. The company has done other big local events.

It’s not that there wasn’t oversight. Scholz said the board had monthly reports that showed all those outstanding bills had been paid — reports he said appear to have been falsified.

Maybe the problem is too much trust and not enough verification.

Among the vendors not paid were the state for use of Point State Park and the City of Pittsburgh for the necessary police fees. The fact that there was no insurance was the final blow.

But all three of those should have been easy to double-check to make sure things were on track. All three should also have been set in stone months ago.

It is understandable that the show couldn’t go on without a venue or security or an insurance policy — especially as the regatta has only recently been sued over a 2017 incident that left KDKA’s Dave Crawley with serious injuries.

But it does seem like the board bears some responsibility for accepting reports at face value.

Next time — and let’s all hope there really is a 42nd regatta on the horizon — the board will have to not just ask for receipts, but check them, too.

Categories: Opinion | Editorials
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