National News

In wake of the Nassar case, Karolyis sue USA Gymnastics, US Olympic Committee

Posted May 2, 2018 6:39 p.m. EDT

— Bela and Martha Karolyi, the couple who ran the famed Karolyi Ranch gymnastics training center in Texas, are suing the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics for canceling the purchase of their ranch and to distance themselves from any alleged misconduct by Larry Nassar, according to court documents dated April 20 and filed in a Texas district court.

Before criminal and civil lawsuits were filed involving Nassar that also list the Karolyis as defendants, USA Gymnastics was expected to buy a portion of the Karolyi Ranch, the couple allege in the lawsuit, citing a July 2016 purchase and sale agreement.

"During the negotiation of the purchase agreement, USAG never informed the Karolyis of Larry Nassar's alleged sexual misconduct on the property although they had knowledge of the same from the reports they received in 2015," the plaintiffs say in the lawsuit.

After Nassar was arrested on child pornography charges in December 2016, the Karolyis received notice from USA Gymnastics that it would terminate the purchase and sale agreement, stating pending litigation had affected USA Gymnastics' sponsorship relationships "that provide vital funding to allow USAG to use the Karolyi Ranch facilities as intended" and "the general perception of the Karolyi Ranch as an appropriate venue for USAG activities," the lawsuit outlines. USA Gymnastics also terminated its lease of the Karolyi ranch in January 2018, the complaint says.

Court documents cite the "breaches of contract and duties owed to plaintiffs which have resulted in severe damages to plaintiffs' reputation, health, and real property."

The Karolyis seek to distance themselves from the actions of Nassar, claiming USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee "repeatedly failed to put in place (or enforce) rules which would protect young gymnasts from potential predators such as USAG's agent Larry Nassar."

Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor and Michigan State University physician, admitted in criminal court to using his influence as a trusted medical doctor to sexually abuse young girls over two decades. In January, he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison.

Karolyi Ranch, a 2,000-acre compound about 70 miles north of Houston, was a gymnastics mecca. It became the US Women's National Team Training Center in 2001 and a US Olympic Training Site in 2011 -- during many of the same years Nassar was the national team doctor.

The Karolyis have denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of Nassar's abuse at the Karolyi Ranch.

USA Gymnastics does not comment on pending or ongoing litigation, and the United States Olympic Committee declined to comment on the matter.