Riders in the US$1 million Las Vegas World Invitational (LVWI) are filing a lawsuit against the organisers to recover prize-money still owing to them six weeks after the event (14-15 October).

Olympic gold medal-winning show jumper Rodrigo Pessoa, who took the top prize in the show, is acting on behalf of all the riders.

“We’re now finding they’re having difficulty in paying,” Pessoa told Horse & Hound, speaking from Brazil. “I’m talking with people I know in the US to find out. We’re going to file a lawsuit on behalf of all the riders. It might be amicable, it might not.”

Contractors, officials and riders, including Britain’s Michael Whitaker and Nick Skelton, remain unpaid after the event — while the LVWI organisers are embroiled in a chaotic battle with their investors for control of the fixture.

Skelton, who earned $185,000 (£101,000) for second place in the grand prix, tried to cash his cheque — it bounced. “Rodrigo [Pessoa] is chasing it on behalf of all the riders,” Skelton said.

Whitaker, who won in the region of $US120,000 (£69,400) said: “My bank held the prize-money cheque for a while because it didn’t go through. The organisers contacted me to say they were going to wire the money through, but I haven’t had it or heard anything since then.”

  • Read the full story in the current issue of Horse & Hound (8 December, ’05)

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