PITTSBURGH - A grand jury investigation related to the cancellation of the Three Rivers Regatta is underway, sources tell Target 11.
The investigation is regarding the financial issues involved in the last-minute decision to cancel the event.
Channel 11 has previously reported that the board decided to cancel the three-day event when it learned insurance had not been purchased.
Board members at the time said that event's organizer, Lionheart Event Group, was responsible for purchasing insurance, securing permits, acquiring sponsors, collecting sponsorship money, contracting with food vendors, working with the race boat organizations and working with the city and others to provide security.
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Since then, Lionheart has filed for bankruptcy, claiming between $500,001 and $1 million in estimated liabilities, but less than $50,000 in assets.
Lionheart, which is run by Derek Weber, allegedly shared inaccurate reports that items had been paid, board members said.
Breaking: Sources confirm to Target 11 that grand jury investigation is now under way into financial issues involving the sudden cancellation of the Three Rivers Regatta this past summer. #wpxi— Rick Earle (@WPXIRickEarle) October 18, 2019
"You know, the board has a fiduciary duty but I don't hold the board at blame. I mean, there were falsified reports, it appears that they were being given, and they were not aware of it until a week before," Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said.
Pittsburgh police launched a criminal investigation in the days after the regatta was canceled.
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Attorney Albert Veverka represents the Lionheart Event Group and owner Weber. He sat down with Channel 11 on Aug. 23, nearly one month after the event was canceled.
"Derek is an experienced businessman. He's experienced in running these events. Certainly there was a breakdown, certainly there were issues, there's no doubting that the event had to be canceled, but I think we need to get a whole picture of what was responsible for that event being canceled, before we heap all the blame on Derek Weber," Veverka said.
Channel 11's Michele Newell followed up with Veverka after the news of a grand jury investigation. He said today was the first time he has heard about it.
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