Taxpayers sue Texas comptroller over F1 race funding

By on Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jun.23 (GMM) More uncertainty has now emerged about the health of the US grand prix scheduled for Austin next year.

Local reports in the Texan capital reveal that comptroller Susan Combs, who approved the state funding for the Circuit of the Americas project, is being sued for illegally allocating the public funds.

The suit has been filed by three taxpayers, according to the Austin Business Journal.

Their lawyer says the advance payment of $25m from the Major Events Trust Fund is illegal because there was no "highly competitive selection process", while F1 is not a "site selection organisation" eligible to receive the support.

But a spokesman for Combs insists that "All applicable state rules and regulations were followed.

"The comptroller's office has followed the law as it is laid out in statute and administrative rules," he added.

The news of the lawsuit has broken mere hours before the Austin City Council will vote on approving the receipt of the state funding for the F1 project.

Asked if he is suspicious of the timing, Austin mayor Lee Leffingwell told local news KUT: "I'm never suspicious about anything."

It has been said a likely outcome of Thursday's meeting now is the delay of the vote, with a new council member who is opposed to the race set to be sworn in shortly.

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