Hula Bowl owner punches back
Hansmire disputes Marcia Klompus’ assertion that she owns the college all-star game’s name
Hula Bowl owner Kenny Hansmire fired back at former owner Marcia Klompus yesterday, two days after Klompus said she still contractually owns the rights to the name "Hula Bowl" and questioned the new ownership group's commitment to keeping the game in Hawaii.
Klompus contends she controls the name because the new owners violated a contract stipulation by moving the game away from Maui prior to five years after the sale. Klompus sold the game to Dick Schaller four years ago, and Schaller sold his remaining interest to Hansmire and Mark Salmans before this year's game in January. Hansmire and Salmans then decided to move it to Oahu. It is scheduled to be played Jan. 21, 2006, at Aloha Stadium.
Hansmire, a Dallas businessman, said he will leave the decision of whether to change the game's name or settling the issue in court up to the board of the American Football Coaches Association, which secures coaches and players for the college all-star game.
"We'll deal with it through the coaches' association," said Hansmire, who added that, "we would owe her $3,000" for the rights to the name "Hula Bowl."
Klompus and her husband, Lenny Klompus, also sold the Oahu and Aloha bowls, which are now defunct.
"This is a technicality," Hansmire said yesterday in a phone interview. "She says, 'I own the name.' That's baloney. If they actually care about the bowls, why are they defunct? Maybe she ought to have checked the people's financial (stability) so they don't go under. Dick was $750,000 in debt. Didn't they think about who they were selling to? That tells me they're not very good business people. I would tell her, 'Wait a minute. You sold it and it failed, now you want it back?' "
Klompus said the games were all solvent when she sold them.
"He can call Mayor (Alan) Arakawa (of Maui), who said he would take the game back in a heartbeat if Lenny and I were running it again," Klompus said.
The Hula Bowl had an eight-year run on Maui, but has been dogged by lagging attendance in recent years.
Hansmire also said he thinks Lenny and Marcia Klompus, who both work for Gov. Linda Lingle, may have used political influence to make sure the Hula Bowl did not receive financial support from the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
"That's absolutely absurd and doesn't deserve a response," Marcia Klompus said.
She said the Hula Bowl never received financial support from the HTA while the game was on Oahu and she owned it, but it did receive money from the Maui Visitiors Bureau when it was played on the Valley Isle.
"Lenny's position with the Governor, that's a farce in itself," Hansmire said. "Sometimes I feel like I'm in a boxing ring with (state) officials with my hands tied behind my back. Well, they're not going to knock us out."
Hansmire said another city might offer more financial support.
"We may need to get tourism money from South Beach in Miami," he said. "It'd be a shorter distance."
Klompus attorney, Bill McCorriston, said he and Hansmire spoke on Wednesday and had agreed to talk again yesterday to hash out a deal, but Hansmire did not return his call.
"I find it strange that we would have a constructive dialogue one day on how to resolve the issue, and then the next day he launches a vicious, untrue attack on Marcia and Lenny," McCorriston said. "I don't know if that's how you do business, but I'm not from Texas."
Hansmire said the college all-star game has secured a title sponsor for this year in Cornerstone Bankcard. The Atlanta-based company will provide $600,000, he said.
He also said ESPN has agreed to again televise the game, after the cable network was paid $50,000 it was owed.
Hansmire said the 2005 Hula Bowl broke even.
"We don't owe anyone a dime on Maui," he said. "We basically helped save the Hula Bowl. We paid $350,000 to get it out of its misery."
Marcia Klompus is a member of the Aloha Stadium Authority board that voted on Tuesday to approve the Hula Bowl date at Aloha Stadium. She recused herself from the vote because of the conflict over the name of the game.