Skins backs Kimmage against potential future legal action from McQuaid, Verbruggen and UCI
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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Skins backs Kimmage against potential future legal action from McQuaid, Verbruggen and UCI

by Shane Stokes at 1:59 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Clothing company will underwrite any legal bills as long as Brown holds control of defence fund

skinsConcerns that journalist Paul Kimmage could be left exposed to possible legal action from the UCI after his defence fund went AWOL in recent days have been dispelled after a commitment by the Skins company was announced today.

The compression wear company has long voiced its opposition to the current UCI leadership. It stated today that if current UCI chief Pat McQuaid and former president Hein Verbruggen relaunch their currently-suspended action, that it will step forward to protect Kimmage against any legal bills which could arise.

The announcement follows the recent news that Aaron Brown [also known as UCI Overlord on Twitter – ed.], one of those involved in administering a defence fund which had over $90,000 in donations from the public, had moved the money out of the PayPal account it had originally been held in.

Kimmage has said that Brown has refused to provide full reassurance that it was still in place, and has also refused to turn over the fund to a neutral third party account.

Brown insists that he has done nothing wrong, although there are some indications that he may have used the fund to pay salaries for the Cyclismas website he was part of until recently. He is currently embroiled in legal action brought by that site against him.

Kimmage told VeloNation several days ago that he was upset that Brown, a person whom he trusted and had intended working with in the coming months, had moved the fund without consulting anyone, and refused to turn it over.

He welcomed today’s news but said that he still wanted Brown to act properly. “When all this started, I was humbled by the generosity of people who made donations into the fund on my behalf,” he stated. “It’s vital that the money is fully accounted for and that the account is run in accordance with the original intention.

“This whole situation could be avoided by simple transparency into the transactional details of the account, and the placing of the remaining cash into escrow with an independent third party. I’m continuing to press for that because the dissolution of a business partnership [between Brown and Cyclismas] has nothing to do with the fund. At the moment, further legal costs incurred by defending the UCI case would be an impossible situation and I’m grateful to SKINS for stepping in to provide support.”

Skins chairman Jaimie Fuller explained the reason why the company has stepped forward. “The sudden lack of transparency surrounding the defence account has left Paul exposed. He is very concerned the UCI could take advantage of his lack of access to the fund and re-launch an action against him that outraged the cycling fraternity,” he stated.

“As a huge fan of Paul and what he stands for, we couldn’t let that happen. So if he incurs legal expenses in relation to defending future UCI action while continuing to be denied access to the fund, we’ll support him to ensure he is able to defend himself.”

Verbruggen and McQuaid began legal action against Kimmage in January 2012. They claimed he defamed them in articles in the Sunday Times and L’Equipe. The writer was later served with a summons on September 19th, compelling him to attend a trial in Switzerland on December 12th 2012.

Unemployed and without the means to defend himself, much of the pressure facing Kimmage was relieved when a defence fund was set up by the Cyclismas and NYVelocity websites. The public responded in droves and a total of over $90,000 was raised.

McQuaid and Verbruggen later suspended their action, although it has not been officially ended.

Skins' announcement today means that even if it is restarted, Kimmage will be able to fight back.

Also see: Feature - The many questions about the Kimmage defence fund



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