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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
CONCORD, N.C. -- Sterling Marlin, Joe Nemechek and two crew chiefs have filed breach of contract suits against Ginn Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc.

All four lost their jobs when the two teams merged in late July, and in separate lawsuits filed last week in Cabarrus County they claim they are owed their salaries. The suits don't specify what the parties are seeking, but say "demand for payment has been made ... but [Ginn and DEI] have failed and/or refused to pay all or any part.''

Land developer Bobby Ginn bought the race team last summer, but merged it with DEI in late July. A week before the merger, he released Marlin, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, and Nemechek.

Crew chiefs Richard Labbe and Peter Sospenzo lost their jobs after the merger.

A spokesman for Ginn did not immediately return a call for comment, but DEI general manager John Story said his organization is not responsible for the old contracts.

"While we were named as a party to the lawsuit, we were never a party to the contracts in question," Story said. "This is an obligation that Ginn will be addressing and any further questions regarding this matter should be directed to them."

According to the suit, both drivers were due to make $1.2 million this season, and were promised 45 percent of their race winnings and 33 percent of souvenir sales. Nemechek earned more than $4 million in race winnings last season, while Marlin made $3.2 million.

Labbe, the crew chief for Marlin, and Sospenzo, crew chief for Nemechek, were earning $450,000 annual salaries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ginn surprised by suit, claims contracts have been honored

Bobby Ginn said Tuesday he's surprised by a lawsuit that claims he hasn't honored the contracts for Sterling Marlin, Joe Nemechek and two crew chiefs.

All four lost their jobs when Ginn Racing merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in late July. The four filed separate lawsuits against both teams last week in Cabarrus County, claiming they are owed their salaries.

The suits don't specify what the parties are seeking, but claim they have demanded payment, and the teams have either failed or refused to comply.

``Sterling and Joe's contracts ran through the end of the year, and I have paid them through August -- all of their winnings and salary, per the contract,'' Ginn said. ``And I intend to pay through the end of the year. I always have.''

Ginn said that crew chiefs Richard ``Slugger'' Labbe and Peter Sospenzo were given severance packages when they were let go, and said he's honored it and payments are up to date.

``This totally surprised me, and it looks to me like they are trying to ask for something over and above and they are just not entitled to,'' Ginn said.

Marlin did not return a telephone message Tuesday, while Nemechek and the crew chiefs could not be reached.

DEI, also named in the suit, said it was never a party to the contracts in question and the obligation to honor the agreements falls on Ginn.

Ginn, a Florida-based land developer, bought the race team last summer and merged it with DEI in late July. A week before the merger, he released Marlin, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, and Nemechek. The crew chiefs lost their jobs when the companies combined their work forces.

According to the suit, both drivers were due to make $1.2 million this season, and were promised 45 percent of their race winnings and 33 percent of souvenir sales. Nemechek earned more than $4 million in race winnings last season, while Marlin made $3.2 million.

Labbe, the crew chief for Marlin, and Sospenzo, crew chief for Nemechek, were earning $450,000 annual salaries.

Nemechek had raced three times since he lost his ride, while Marlin failed to make the race at Bristol last month. Labbe has been hired at Bill Davis Racing, where he is working with former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve. It's not clear what Sospenzo is doing.

But Ginn was adamant that he is honoring his obligations.

``At the end of the day, I am going to do what I said I would do,'' Ginn said. ``These guys are all racers and they want to race and be back at the track. I know a lot of people were let go and lost their jobs in this whole merger, but lots of them have already found positions. That's the unfortunate part of a merger, but it is correcting itself.''
 
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