Courtenay Sues DMA Over Purchase of DM Days

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DM News publisher Courtenay Communications Corp. has sued the Direct Marketing Association for $10 million alleging tortious interference and other grounds related to the DMA's purchase of the DM Days in New York show.

Last year, Courtenay sued the principals of DMD Conferences LLC alleging breach of contract regarding an agreement to sell the conference. In that suit, the former owners of the DMD Conferences denied the existence of a binding agreement and filed a motion for dismissal. Both lawsuits are before Justice Charles E. Ramos of the New York State Supreme Court.

In an affidavit submitted in response to the lawsuit against the DMA, DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen disclosed that he received a call from Courtenay CEO Adrian Courtenay in September in which Courtenay asserted that he had a "firm deal" to purchase the show and would have no choice but to sue any party that interfered. Wientzen's affidavit also said that after the call, "I asked DMD whether Courtenay's allegations were accurate" and "DMD repeatedly assured me that it had no contract with CCC."

In an e-mail sent several weeks later, Courtenay reiterated to Wientzen that he had an agreement to buy the show and his company was prepared to sue any "individual or organization who attempts to interfere."

"I've always been fond of Bob Wientzen and believe he's an articulate and effective leader of the DMA," said Courtenay, "but he was well aware of how strongly I felt that we had an agreement to buy the DM Days in NY show. I regret that he disregarded our lawsuit and declined to discuss the merits of our claim, accepting the sellers' word on blind faith that there was no agreement. I think he owed it to his organization and ours to do a little more due diligence. We remain hopeful that the matter can be resolved amicably."

In oral arguments April 30, Ramos denied Courtenay's request for a temporary receiver of the show, indicating this was a rarely used judicial measure and one he personally had never used.

The DMA declined to comment for this story on legal grounds.

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