Thursday, December 2, 2021

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Where’s Aikman? Toyota sues Tirrell


Remember when Marty Tirrell brought Troy Aikman to town a year or so ago to do promotional appearances for Toyota of Des Moines?


Neither does Toyota of Des Moines.

So it would like it if Tirrell would return the $79,284 the company says in court papers that it gave him “to procure the appearance” of the great quarterback who played 12 years with the Dallas Cowboys. And it would like to be reimbursed for the money it spent promoting the non-appearance.

Toyota would also like it if Tirrell would pay for the new tires and repairs it did last fall on his 2003 Mercedes C240.

Those are the two counterclaims that Toyota of Des Moines’ parent, Charles Gabus Motors Inc., has come back with in the odd — make that very odd — lawsuit that the bombastic sports talk-show guy filed against Toyota earlier this year.

Tirrell used to broadcast his show on 1700 AM — “The Champ” — from the Toyota showroom, but last November the dealership canceled the deal. Tirrell said he had a contract, and in February he sued. The lawsuit included two letters from Toyota that Tirrell views as contracts, but, as Cityview reported at the time:

“Neither is a document signed by Tirrell. Rather, both are ‘To Whom It May Concern’ letters from Toyota. The first, dated in November of 2010, tells ‘to whom it may concern’ that Tirrell at the time had a three-year contract — but that’s probably not very helpful to his case, since it says the contract ran through Aug. 31, 2012. The second, undated, says that Tirrell has been ‘a very valuable asset to business’ and that ‘Toyota of Des Moines has every intention to keep his services for years to come.’ Well, almost every intention.”

End of paragraph of Cityview quoting Cityview.

At any rate, the suit apparently didn’t sit very well with the Gabus folks. While denying every claim Tirrell made — citing everything from “fraud of the Plaintiff” to the doctrine of laches — they raised the issues of Aikman and the Mercedes. According to the suit, Tirrell said he could get Aikman to do promotional appearances for Toyota, and Toyota spent unspecified amounts advertising the coming appearance.

But Tirrell couldn’t deliver.

Nor, apparently, did he return the “approximately $79,284” Toyota gave him to get Aikman to town.

Nor, allegedly, has he paid the $931.40 he was charged last fall for the tires and repairs to the 2003 Mercedes, which he had purchased from Toyota in February of 2011.

The 53-year-old Tirrell — one of whose companies is known as the Mouth of the Midwest LLC — buys time on a radio station and then sells ads so he can pay the station for the time. When Toyota canceled the deal, Tirrell went off the air. The Toyota lawsuit says he was supposed to stay off the air “for a period of 30-45 days for failure to pay his money obligations” under a deal they made.

But, the suit says, he didn’t.

CVA_06PAGE 7He now is on 1490 AM, “The Jock,” the fourth station he’s been on since coming to Des Moines more than 10 years ago. Radio Online, a trade publication, lists the 11 top-rated stations in Des Moines, as of last Wednesday. Two are sports stations. Neither is The Jock.

At any rate, last month Judge Scott Rosenberg set a trial-scheduling conference for next Tuesday.

Meantime, Tirrell and Cumulus Media apparently have settled Cumulus’ debt-collection suit against Tirrell. The suit was filed March 15 but dismissed on May 20, court records show. Cumulus owns 1700 AM.

Laches? That’s “a legal doctrine that bars a claimant from receiving relief where the claimant’s delay in pursuing the claim has operated to the prejudice of the opposing party.” …

The line is forming with those Democrats who want to run for the Iowa Senate seat that probably will be vacated by Jack Hatch, who appears to be running for governor. Former state senator Tony Bisignano announced last week, and former five-term legislator Ned Chiodo says he’ll run, too — a pairing that will throw South Des Moines into apoplexy if both really run in the primary. Chris Diebel, the former director of marketing with Orchestrate who now is with LPCA Public Strategies (the “L” is Jeff Link), says he’ll run — unless Chiodo does. And there’s talk that assistant attorney general Nathan Blake might run.

The district covers the south side, Sherman Hill and most of downtown. It has about 35,000 registered voters, with about 17,000 Democrats, around 7,000 Republicans and about 11,000 independents. …

A snarky note from a reader: “Channel 13 had Jack Hatch referring to Tom Vilsack as the ‘800-pound gorilla in the room,’ when it came to the governor’s race. Relatively speaking, and perhaps indelicately, [the guy’s wife] wondered what that would make Chet Culver.” …

No one — except some Des Moines business leaders — seems to have noticed, but Gov. Terry Branstad signed the Iowa Reinvestment Act the other day, all but assuring a convention hotel will be built just south of the arena and convention center downtown. The act, which passed both houses of the legislature overwhelmingly, lets a city set up a “reinvestment district” and then use two-thirds of the sales taxes and occupancy taxes generated by a new project in the district — in this case, the hotel — to help finance the project.

The hotel will be built on land assembled by the new Des Moines Redevelopment group, the businesses that are guaranteeing a line of credit of more than $11 million to assemble land and then sell it to developers. This is the first project of that group.

Politicians say the bill was not an easy sell, and they credit Matt Hinch, the Partnership’s government-relations guy who used to work for House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, with getting the bill through with huge majorities. …

As of next week, KCCI weathermen Kurtis Gertz and Wes Callison will be switching jobs. Gertz will take over weekday-morning duties, Callison weekend-evening shows.

And it’s no longer the Anderson-Erickson Dairy Stage sponsored by KCCI at the Iowa State Fair. It’s now the Fairview Stage sponsored by Coors Light with media sponsor KCCI 8 News.

Will there still be product sampling? And will traditional, family-friendly KCCI require its anchors to say “sponsored by Coors Light” at the Iowa State Fair and broadcast its 5 p.m. newscast in front of a beer can backdrop? “We’re in discussion with the fair right now on what the stage will look like,” says Nick Allard, creative services director at Channel 8. “We’ve expressed our concerns to the fair about it just this week, and we’re working both with the fair and with the sponsor to come up with a solution that’s good for everyone.”

Allard pointed out that the Budweiser stage has been sponsored by WOI in the past. Second snarky comment: WOI is the ABC affiliate in Des Moines. CV

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