Marathon company seeing money woes; vendors and racers not being paid

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The company in charge of the Salt Lake Marathon is having money troubles. Organizers are running behind on thousands of dollars in payments to vendors and race winners in at least three cities.

Devine Racing doesn't deny there have been big problems -- checks bouncing, winners waiting up to a year for their prizes -- but say they've made changes and it won't happen again. Then again, that promise has been made before.

Nearly a year ago, Genna Tufa crossed the Salt Lake Marathon finish line in first place. His prize: $5,000, which he has yet to receive.

In Las Vegas, a company that supplied tents and power to their marathon in December is still waiting on tens of thousands of dollars. Another marathon employee is owed $7,800.

All, they say, goes back to Chicago-based marathon organizing company Devine Racing.

"We had some significant challenges over the last two years and wound up divesting those events and parting company with the management guys," said Christopher Devine, president of Devine Racing.

Devine says when he sold Vegas Marathon to a new company, there was confusion over who was responsible for making payments. It's a problem he says has been resolved and won't affect the marathon in Salt Lake.

"We have done everything we can to insulate the Salt Lake market. It is my baby, my love," Devine said.

But the company has a history of financial problems. In Los Angeles last year, marathon employees' paychecks bounced. Vendors waited months for their money.

As for the racers, Genna Tufa isn't the only one to finish in record time then wait record time for his winnings. It happened in Vegas, Los Angeles and here before in Salt Lake.

In 2006, winners didn't get paid for 10 months. Devine racing assured the Salt Lake Tribune at the time that wouldn't happen again.

Devine says Tufa's check was issued recently, and he should have it. He also sold the Los Angeles marathon, citing those problems on the same management team.


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