Nashville Bike Week organizer takes to Facebook Live as authorities search for him

Michael Leffingwell (Mug: Metro Nashville Police Department)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The organizer of the scheduled Nashville Bike Week took to Facebook Live Saturday morning to guarantee that the 10-day bike festival will go on as scheduled in September.

But he still has not given complete details on a venue and continues to deny refunds as more ticket holders question if the event is really going to happen.

Mike Axle, whose legal name is Michael Leffingwell, posted a Facebook Live video from Saturday morning that he called a “coming to Jesus meeting.”

PREVIOUS: Search for Nashville Bike Week organizer continues; Venue remains up in air

During the Facebook Live he said he has invested $900,000 in the event and showed contracts he said were paid in full for entertainment.

“We are not going to say no more than Nashville Bike Week is a shame and a fake,” he said. “All we did was we are changing venues.”

He also said if ticket goers did not want to go, they should sell their tickets.

“After discussing it with our attorneys, there is no refunds,” Leffingwell said. “Sell your ticket if you don’t want to come.”

He continued, “I don’t want you at our event if you are a whiner and a crier. How can you even ride a bike if you act like that?”

News 2 spoke to a ticket holder who said she was initially told she could get a refund when she contacted the event organizers.

“A guy told me they would issue a check and he took my email address for confirmation when it was issued,” Carolyn Swiger said. “I spent $987 for two tickets and a campsite.”

Swiger said her and her husband bought tickets in July and were excited about visiting Tennessee.

“We have about 15 people in our group, and now we don’t know what to do,” she said. “If it is still going on, then tell us where it is happening.”

Swiger also said it appears she and others who voiced concerns on the Nashville Bike Week Facebook page get blocked.

Axle addressed the Facebook page in his live broadcast Saturday.

“There is no more negativity on our Facebook,” he said. “We will delete and block you.”

Leffingwell has multiple arrests and convictions on fraud and theft charges. He has active warrants for his arrest in Sumner County, Maury County, the state of Georgia and the state of Missouri on federal probation violations.

He was convicted of federal wire fraud in 2006 as part of a plea agreement in Missouri. He was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison; three years supervised release, 500 hours in a residential substance abuse program and ordered to pay $249,000 in restitution.

Michael Leffingwell (Courtesy: Metro-Nashville Police Department)

“I will go take care of my stuff and I’ll be back way before the event,” Leffingwell said. “I haven’t killed nobody. All I did was miss court.”

He continued, “I signed the wrong piece of paper at the court house, holy sh**, let’s open up a nationwide manhunt because the news said so.”

Leffingwell said someone else would be stepping into continue the organization process for Nashville Bike Week while he is handling his “personal” issues.

“Next week, we are going to announce somebody else who has a lot experience in the biking world who is going to be stepping up and taking control of this,” he said. “I am not stepping down. I am stepping back.”

The Humphreys’ County Sheriff’s Office confirmed they have had email contact with Leffingwell but have not seen him in person.

The sheriff’s office said it will take him into custody if they do find him.

If you are a ticket holder with concerns, the Humphreys’ County Sheriff’s Office has set up a form to report your information to in case there is a future criminal investigation. Click here to fill out the form online.