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Hobart’s Suit




In your recent article “Hobart’s Children” (Jan. 29), you wrote: “Where did the current litigious battle for his legacy begin? Ellin Beltz suggests starting with Brown v. Humboldt Kinetic Association.” You also write that when the Humboldt Kinetic Association “... realized the race couldn’t turn a profit, they stopped payments and Hobart sued.”

That’s just not true. The HKA never had any interest in robbing Hobart of his legacy. It was started by a group of nonprofits pulled together by a leader who saw potential for the race to be a fund-raising vehicle. The fact that none of the people involved had ever been a part of the race gave me some concern, so I volunteered to act as an advisor and intermediary with the Kinetic world. (I had met Hobart and became involved with the race when I moved to Ferndale in 1988.) Within a few years, several of the group’s founders, including its leader, had left the group, and a few others with race experience stepped in.

Among the first things this essentially new group realized was that the founders, whether out of charity or an over ambitious vision of the future, had promised Hobart more than they could support. It was at that point that several of us approached Hobart with the realities of the race’s finances and came to an agreement for reduced payments. From that day forward the HKA faithfully paid their revised monthly installments, as well as what little profit there was from the annual race to Hobart. There is no question of this, as there are several official documents on file, including the agreement signed by Hobart.

So why did he sue? Well, it’s hard to say for certain, but he once told me that with the press turning to the HKA instead of the gallery for race information he was feeling forgotten. Perhaps he felt he could regain some of his “glory” if he were in control again? We also talked about his financial woes and concerns over what he would leave behind. At one point he implied that someone had convinced him that the HKA was bringing in a lot more than they would admit. Why anyone would suggest this and who they might be is uncertain, but it wasn’t true.

In the end, I am not aware of any hard feelings between the HKA and Hobart. Many of us were his friends before and remained his friends. Hobart was and always will be the Glorious Founder, and no true Kinetic fan would ever try to take that from him, or take his place.

— R.J. Frost, Novato

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