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Lack Of Permit, Insurance Sinks Three Rivers Regatta, According To City And County Officials

Matt Nemeth
90.5 WESA
Attendees Paddle along the Allegheny River on a dragon boat during the Three Rivers Regatta on Friday, August 5, 2016.

Pittsburgh and Allegheny County officials announced Tuesday the annual EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta has been cancelled due to an events management company's "failure to deliver on promises." 

The event was supposed to take place this upcoming weekend.

Mayor Bill Peduto, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Regatta board member Charles Scholz all placed the blame on LionHeart Event Group, which has run the Regatta since 2017.

"Late last week, the board learned for the first time that LionHeart had misrepresented the status of the sponsorships and payment to a variety of vendors," said Scholz. "These vendors included government agencies."

According to Peduto, LionHeart has not paid the city's Bureau of Police for services for 2017 and 2018's Regattas. For this weekend's event, mandatory insurance was not secured, nor was a permit for state-owned Point State Park.

"We tried to save the Regatta by moving it over to the North Shore," Peduto said. "But without insurance, and without the vendors participating because of not being paid in the past ... it's in the best interest for the city and region that we cancel this year."

A probe has been launched into LionHeart, according to Scholz, though law enforcement is not involved at this time. Scholz declined to give an estimate of how much money is owed, and said financial records were falsified by LionHeart.

"The board receives monthly reports from LionHeart, and according to those reports these bills had been paid," Scholz said. 

Peduto said the city worked with the Regatta despite having outstanding payments to the Bureau of Police in part because other city agencies had been paid.

"We were working directly with LionHeart on receiving payment and were being told that the payment was on its way," Peduto said. "At the same time, we want to support the Regatta. Our goal is to be able to have this as an annual event and to work with them and be flexible in a manner."

The Three Rivers Regatta has been held annually since 1978. The river festival has hosted boat races, water sports and the Red Bull Flugtag.

LionHeart did not respond to requests to comment.