NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Concerned customers have been reaching out to the Humphreys County sheriff about money they paid to attend Nashville Bike Week in September.
The 10-day motorcycle festival is supposed to include 101 bands on four stages, daily stunt shows and some of the best motorcycle riding in the country, according to a post on the event’s Facebook page.
The event was supposed to be held at Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Humphreys County, but the ranch posted to its website that the event would not be held on the property.
According to the event’s Facebook page, the venue will be announced Friday.
However, the sheriff of Humphreys County told News 2 there were red flags about the event for a while because details of crowd size and security were not being answered.
Now, ticket holders are contacting the sheriff to ask if the event is actually a scam.
“It very well may happen, and if it does, that is good for our community,” Sheriff Chris Davis said. “But we are still collecting people’s information in case there is an issue later.”
News 2 investigated the organizer Mike Axle, whose real name is Michael Lewis Leffingwell.
Leffingwell has a lengthy criminal history with multiple convictions for fraud and theft, including a federal conviction in Missouri.
In the federal case, Leffingwell was sentenced to three years in prison for taking money from companies he promised to promote products for at Nascar events. He took the money, but did not do the promotion.
In addition to prison time, he was ordered to pay $249,000 in restitution.
In July 2014, the Better Business Bureau issued a consumer warning about his concrete business “Got Concrete.”
According to the warning, two customers lodged complaints that said the business collected $6,700 in payments, but never completed the work.
News 2 learned authorities have active arrest warrants for Leffingwell for probation violations in Georgia and Missouri. He also has an active warrant in Maury County.
Anyone with information on Leffingwell’s whereabouts is urged to call their local authorities or the Humphreys County sheriff at 931-296-2301.
News 2 was able to reach someone at Leffingwell’s email address who said Nashville Bike Week is still going to go on as planned.
The person explained the Tennessee Department of Health inspected the Loretta Lynn ranch and found the number of people expected at the event would not meet requirements set forth in Tennessee Mass Gathering law.
The person, presumably Leffingwell, forwarded News 2 a voicemail he said is from the Tennessee Department of Health that states a health department employee inspected the area where Nashville Bike Week would take place and that it would not accommodate enough people to be in compliance with the Mass Gathering Law.
The Department of Health verified the voicemail and said they told Leffingwell if he did not change venue he would not be able to sell more than 5,000 tickets to the event.
In addition to that, they also told him if he continued to sell more tickets before securing a bigger venue he could be charged with a Class E felony.
When asked about the active warrants, Leffingwell wrote, “I’ll be taking care of those – that has nothing to do with Nashville Bike week and I’m not the only promoter of Nashville Bike Week. Nashville Bike Week is owned by a lot of people.”
He also stated that all the financial obligations the organization has had to meet are in good standing.
“I’ve never had no control of the bank – my name is not even on the bank account – that’s the weather people in the corporation that handle all that,” he wrote. “All of our bills are paid. We don’t owe nobody nothing. All the bands stages, everything, is paid Stunt Shows Wall the event is still going on.”
He continued, “Let’s talk about the good things of Nashville Bike Week – money on toys already donated. Over 20 different charities tax revenue coming in to [sic] the state. I don’t know why we don’t discuss that.”
The Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office has created an email address for concerned customers to email them their information. Customers call also call 931-296-2301.
Anyone who contacts the sheriff’s office will need to provide the following information:
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Involvement (Tickets, vendor, etc. and value)
- Date of agreement (if possible, purchase date)
Nashville Bike Week’s Facebook page is still active and the administrators were responding to comments on the page as of Thursday afternoon.