TVG Files Countersuit Against Magna

TV Games Network has filed a countersuit against Magna Entertainment Corp. in the brewing battle over the right to broadcast Maryland Jockey Club racing.

Magna, which bought a majority interest in the MJC earlier this year, is attempting to dissolve TVG's exclusive contract as the network provider for racing from Pimlico and Laurel Park. The 57-page counterclaim by ODS Technologies, which does business as TVG, "seeks to prevent the infliction of severe and irreparable harm to ODS as a direct and proximate result of the concerted, predatory, unethical, devious, improper, and unrighteous means and business practices" of Magna.

The point of contention is a stipulation in the original "Founders Agreement" signed by TVG and several partner racetracks. One stipulation was for TVG to have a three-month gross handle average of $230 million by Nov. 1 2001. TVG claims MJC chairman Joe DeFrancis agreed to waive the clause.

However, in a suit against TVG filed in late July, Magna claimed the milestone was still an active stipulation in the contract and had not been met by TVG. That breach of contract allows Magna to end the relationship between MJC and TVG, the suit contends.

The countersuit by TVG seeks to "prevent MEC from continuing its pattern of intentional and wrongful conduct" toward TVG and its partner racetracks. TVG claims Magna has a history of trying to break contracts after it purchases a racetrack.

Magna launched a competitor to TVG, Horse Racing TV, earlier this year.