ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Rockford Ninja Warrior is more than $100,000 in debt, with its leader saying a public relations firm failed to deliver on promises of major sponsorship dollars.
Rockford Ninja Warrior president Brian Pankratz says the event owes some $118,000 to multiple organizations. He says he’s taking full responsibility and promises to pay back every penny.
“It’s a very hard lesson to learn and I know that even through this that my biggest desire is to get the people we owe money paid,” he told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday.
Pankratz started Rockford Ninja Warrior four years ago. The community event mimics the hit NBC television show and aims to give kids opportunities like the professionals to test their strength. Pankratz says it teaches life lessons in how to tackle mental health problems.
He said he made a mistake last year in signing a contract with a public relations company to create vendor contracts and bring in donations totaling $700,000. He said the firm never turned over a cent and that left Rockford Ninja Warrior scrambling a month and a half before the August 2017 event.
That left multiple organizations and companies waiting to get paid.
Pankratz says he was able to pay back some of them, but there are still eight companies who haven’t gotten their due, including The Screen Print Dept. Inc., which has filed a lawsuit to collect the $25,000 it says its owed.
An owner of The Screen Print Dept. Inc. told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday that she had just entered in to an agreement that included not speaking to the press for 21 days while Rockford Ninja Warrior responded to the lawsuit.
Our original version of this story said Rockford Ninja Warrior was $700,000 in debt. We regret the error.
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