I have seen Nashville Bike Week promoted heavily on social media, even on my own group page M.S.A.R. As a matter of fact, I have communicated publicly on Facebook with whomever is posting on our page about the rally. I even considered organizing a ride to the rally. But, as of the last few days, many are wondering if Nashville Bike Week is a scam?
This event was supposed to be huge, compared to the likes of Daytona Bike Week and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. A ten day motorcycle rally complete with more than one hundred live bands, daily stunt shows, and riding through some of the most beautiful parts of the country.
Originally, the event was scheduled at country music legend Loretta Lynn’s Ranch which is located in Humphrey County, however, their website posted earlier this week that they canceled the event because the organizers failed to comply with the financial terms of the contract (Red Flag 1). But that’s okay, because the promoter is saying that they cancelled the contract because the ranch location failed to meet the requirements of the Tennessee Department of Health. They have since removed that statement from their Facebook Page (Red Flag 2).
Under Tennessee’s “mass gathering law,” permits are required when more than 5,000 people are expected. They haven’t applied for the permit because only 4,700 tickets were sold. However, they continue to claim more than 100,000 people are to be expected (Red Flag 3). How did they come with that figure if only 4,700 tickets were sold? How many hotel rooms are booked? Campsites? At the minimum, they should have applied for the permit. Not to mention that town and government officials have made clear publicly that they are not in the loop with the organizer(s) about the event as their calls and questions remain unanswered. By the way, the promoter is MIA (Red Flag 4).
This resulted in a local news station, WKRN News to investigate and the results are shocking!
- The promoter of Nashville Bike Week is Mike Axle and that is not his real name (Red Flag 5).
- Michael Lewis Leffingwell, aka Mike Axle, has a criminal conviction in Missouri and served 3 years in prison. He was supposed to promote NASCAR events, but failed to do so. The fact that this was not a civil contract dispute but a criminal issue, says a lot. As part of his sentence, he was also ordered to pay $249,000 in restitution which means if he didn’t pay, I’m sure they will get paid now since there has been 4,700 tickets sold (Red Flag 6). I’m sure the U.S. Attorney will now open an investigation to see the amount of funds that has been collected in order to have that outstanding judgment satisfied. Which means that if that becomes an issue and it gets litigated, then there will be major issues having the funds released in order to pay vendors, performers, etc… By my conservative calculations based on ticket prices and the amount of tickets sold, that may be close to $1 million in revenue already generated.
- A consumer warning was issued by the BBB (Better Business Bureau) for a business Leffingwell owned called “Got Concrete.” The business failed to complete work that it was hired for. Sounds familiar? (Red Flag 7). The same result with fencing contracts he had (Red Flag 8).
- Leffingwell has active warrants pending in Georgia and Missouri for probation violations and another warrant pending in Maury County (Red Flag 9, 10 & 11).
The Facebook page for Nashville Bike Week continues to post that the event is moving forward. It even posted that by Friday a new venue would be chosen. It’s Saturday and the attorneys are being blamed for the delay. Would this be the same attorneys who didn’t know about the Tennessee Mass Gathering Law and didn’t apply for permits? (Red Flag 12).
Now, it is possible that because this event is new, there are issues with organizing the event. I get that and truth be told, that is expected. But, I do not feel comfortable and neither should you, that the one organizing the event has a criminal past.
Now, let me make myself clear- if it were a conviction for Driving Under the Infuence (DUI), I’m okay with that because one thing has nothing to do with another. He just wouldn’t get to drive my car or ride my motorcycle. But fraud and theft? Outstanding warrants in three counties! A conviction for scamming NASCAR!
See you in Daytona!
Below is the video link of the WKRN News Investigation.
For my motorcycle related books, click on the book cover below. Prior motorcycle blogs on Nashville Bike Week can be found here.