Tim Farrell, AHMA president
The rift between the American Hardware Manufacturers
Association and Reed Exhibitions widened in early 2004, as
the Schaumburg, Ill.-based association brought a lawsuit against
its former show manager.
The suit accuses Norwalk, Conn.-based Reed of taking kickbacks
from its general contractor, Dallas-based Freeman Decorating Co.,
concealing revenues from the association and increasing its profits
expense of exhibitors by hiking drayage labor fees.
This follows a separation agreement signed last year by the
AHMA and Reed after more than two decades of working together.
Reed, which owns the National Hardware Show name, moved the May
2004 show from Chicago to Las Vegas without the support of the
association, which launched its own AHMA Hardware Show, to take
place in Chicago in April.
“The lawsuit is completely without merit,” said Rob Cappiello,
industry vice president of the National Hardware Show, Reed
Exhibitions. Cappiello dismissed the action as a publicity stunt,
saying that the AHMA show had attracted less support and attention
than did Reed’s event. He argued further that Reed’s dealings with
show vendors were all consistent with “a normal business
Yet, said AHMA president and CEO Tim Farrell, exhibitor
complaints about the high cost of participation helped lead the
hardware group to reconsider its relationship with Reed; he added
that a subsequent internal investigation uncovered the unorthodox
rate and payment structures.