WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — RV dealer Gigi Stetler’s legal team is seeking to compel Camping World, Bellissimo Entities and others to provide an actual physical address for Ila Lemonis so that Stetler can depose her regarding an ongoing lawsuit, RV Daily Report has learned.
Ila Lemonis is purported to be the wife of Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis. An article posted by RV Business Oct. 28, 2008, noted, “Lemonis, who graduated from Miami Columbus High and still has an apartment in Coconut Grove, lives with his wife, Ila, and their two daughters in Lake Forest, Ill.”
Additional research notes that Ila Lemonis owns several horses and is heavily involved in equestrian activities in Illinois.
Stetler said that could be significant in her lawsuit against Camping World for allegedly forcing her out of sponsorship of the Winter Equestrian Festival.
She had been a major sponsor of the event and operated the campground at the facility until 2010, when she alleges that Bellissimo Enterprises and Camping World had conspired against her. Stetler said email communications between Marcus Lemonis and Ila Lemonis obtained during the discovery process indicate that Ila had attempted to influence the decision to prevent Stetler from even competing at the event.
Because Ila Lemonis owned several horses and was training for the festival, that’s how Marcus Lemonis became interested and involved in sponsoring the Winter Equestrian Festival, Stetler told RV Daily Report.
In 2008, Stetler claims that Marcus Lemonis approached her offering to buy her dealership, RV Sales of Broward. When she declined the offer, Stetler said Lemonis launched an orchestrated effort to put her out of business. That resulted in two separate lawsuits against Lemonis.
One case was filed after all of Stetler’s inventory was repossessed by GE Commercial Distribution Finance in a replevin action, but 19 of the motorhomes were later found in possession of Camping World — with the units still titled to Stetler’s dealership.
The second case involved Stetler’s sponsorship of the Winter Equestrian Festival and operation of the campground for the event since 2003.
After the 2009 Winter Equestrian Festival in August, Stetler attempted to negotiate terms for sponsorship of the 2010 event. But, the complaint alleges the event organizer, Bellissimo Entities, required Stetler to release the names of her camping customers, how much they paid for their campsites and the total income generated from the business. That information was to be used to determine compensation for the 2010 festival.
Stetler claims Bellissimo Entities required her to forward her confidential client list, her budget, copies of client contracts, financial information about her clients, a profit and loss statement, her business model for the campground operation as well as her entire business plan — before the amount of rent was determined.
On Oct. 21, 2009, Stetler claims Bellissimo Entities informed her that the firm had entered into a contract with Camping World and that her services would no longer be needed. Four minutes after the call ended, Stetler said she was e-mailed a press release announcing the Camping World partnership for the 2010 Winter Equestrian Festival.
In addition to sending the press release to Stetler, Bellissimo Entities also sent it to all of Stetler’s customers by mass e-mail, the complaint noted.
To read more information about that case, click here.