The same way I published SMRI (Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc.) official statements against the group “Concerned Citizens For Sturgis” and specific attacks on one of its members – Kent Mortimer – regarding litigation about the Sturgis Rally Trademarks, I publish, as is, Kent Mortimer’s answer to SMRI. If you wonder why both groups talk so much in advance of a judge decision on the validity of the Sturgis trademarks obtained by SMRI, it’s of course to try to rally on their side the local population and merchandise vendors of the industry.
“Jerry Berkowitz – Volunteer or Profiteer? Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc. (SMRI) has a board of eight members who are all touted as “unpaid” volunteers. Two of these board members, Jerry Berkowitz of Hot Leathers and Jim Burgess of Black Hills Harley-Davidson, fought and opposed the trademarking of the name Sturgis for many years. Why, after years of litigation, did they suddenly switch sides and now sit on the board of an organization that is doing what they previously opposed?
I just got my Hot Leathers 2012 wholesale catalog in the mail. 44 pages of this catalog are exclusively selling Sturgis rally related items (pages 254-297). This section starts with the Sturgis T-shirt labeled “# 1 Design” and goes on to list long sleeve T’s, ladies tops, sweatshirts, patches, magnets, shot glasses, hats, can koozies, ash trays, sunglasses, flags, etc… I’m sure you get the idea. Jerry berkowitz is making great deal of profit with Official Sturgis rally products! When they tell you it’s not about the money – it’s about the money!
How did Jerry from Manchester, Connecticut, get such a sweetheart licensing deal? Dozens, if not hundreds, of other vendors who have sold at the Sturgis rally for years, can’t get a license from SMRI! The legal problems SMRI is now having is due to the secret deal that was made with Jerry and Hot Leathers and Jim and Harley-Davidson. To have these two individuals on SMRI’s board is a complete conflict of interest! They are there to feather their nests. SMRI is like a beautiful house. Everything looks great from the outside. But, when you get down in the basement and look at the foundation, it’s full of wood rot and termites! Certainly not the pretty picture SMRI paints of unpaid volunteers helping the Sturgis community. Every existing vendor should have been grandfathered in and licensed to make and sell Sturgis products. There would have been no need for expensive legal action that takes money away from the Sturgis community. Thanks again to all of the bikers, vendors, Sturgis campground and bar owners, South Dakota citizens and businessmen who have joined together to fight SMRI. Please feel free to forward to anyone you feel would find this information beneficial” Kent Mortimer, Concerned Citizens For Sturgis.