Promoters in Dogfight Over Air Show

A group that failed to put on an air and sea show in 2010 claims it has the legal rights to host the event in 2012

A month after Fort Lauderdale announced plans to get the popular air and sea show off the ground for the first time in five years, a group claims the city needs to stall its engines.

Stan Smith, who tried but failed to put on a show in 2010, claims the city should be negotiating with his group to put on the show planned for April, not the promoter who came forward with the fresh idea last month.

At a July 6 meeting, Smith told city commissioners he has a contract that affords him the chance to put on a show in April 2012, the Miami Herald reported.

That was news to the city and Bryan Lilley, the Cocoa Beach air show coordinator who proposed the rebirth of Fort Lauderdale's version in June.

Lilley was in talks for a two-year deal with the city to return military vessels, aircrafts and aerobatics to the beach. The city agreed to back the show at the June 21 meeting and was in the process of inviting world famous groups like the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels until the latest dispute surfaced.

City spokesman Chaz Adams said Friday that Smith's contract was voided when he couldn't pull off the 2010 show. Smith wasn't able to secure sponsors for his scaled back version of the air and sea show and Adams said the city hasn't heard from the man since it fell through.

But Smith said he is working on plans to hold a show on the same weekend, April 28-29, as the current proposal from Lilley's group.

An emergency hearing on the issue is scheduled for Tuesday where the commission will likely choose a promoter to work with.

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