About that lawsuit filed Monday by concert promoter Mammoth – messrs Josh Hunt and Jeff Fortier – against Kanrocksas promoter Bill Brandmeyer and (more importantly perhaps) MMF, LLC. The one in which Mammoth claims “the defendants misrepresented and misled Mammoth as to their intentions, causing great economic harm to Mammoth. The defendant’s actions have effectively destroyed Mammoth’s business and ruined the company’s reputation and ability to do business in the music industry.”
One of the area’s top concert promoters claiming it’s effectively out of the biz based on its booking 78 acts for Kanrocksas, which canceled like a month and a day prior to its scheduled liftoff June 28-29 at the Kansas Speedway.
Before I wade into this total mess…
Let me first say, this was an ill-advised event from the get go in my humble opinion.
And just about everybody outside of Brandmeyer I spoke to said as much.
So after reportedly poor ticket sales, MMG, LLC pulled the plug just over a month out.
“Was there some kind of escape hatch” asks Kansas City lawyer David Scott Whinery, Esquire. “That goes back to the 30 days plus a day. That may be why the artists aren’t suing them. Because that’s kind of standard (cancellation clause) in a lot of performance contracts.”
Mammoth however is suing Brandmeyer and the Limited Liability Corporation to the tune of “an amount in excess of $75,000.”
One wild card: the agreement filed with the court shows it was between MMF, LLC and Mammoth. Not Brandmeyer personally and Mammoth.
Therein lies the potential problem, sources say.
“With the kind of money (Kanrocksas) had, they probably built an LLC that’s going to be pretty hard to pierce the corporate veil of,” Whinery says. “And if they did pierce it, then they’d have to go after a trust and good luck with that.”
The odds of getting past the LLC and trust into Brandmeyer’s pocket?
“It’s going to be hard to get to the individual unless they can prove that it was outright fraud or (Brandmeyer) gave personal guarantees,” says another Kansas City attorney familiar with entertainment law. “Because generally those LLCs don’t have any assets…And it’s pretty hard to get things out of trusts.”
The idea being that Brandmeyer’s liquid assets may be mostly tied up in trusts.
Brandmeyer did not return a call for this column.
“I don’t feel sorry for Brandmeyer and I also don’t feel sorry for the bands…” says one entertainment source. “All of the agents and managers who took offers from people who aren’t (really) in the business deserve to be burned. They should know better.
“This is happening all over the place. There’s been this giant explosion in festivals and the bands are leaping at all the money. And some of them just aren’t coming through. The bottom line is, it’s all fueled by greed.”
“Obviously (Brandmeyer) isn’t scared of this lawsuit,” says the entertainment source. “It’s nothing…The only people who are going to make money are the lawyers.”
“It’s hard to show damages,” Whinery adds. “Mammoth may have a better shot than anybody though because their company name took a hit.”
That said, left to try and bleed an LLC, “They call it judgement proof in the trade,” Whinery says. “Because even if you can win, there’s no money to collect. So what’s the point?”
Which brings us to Mammoth’s cost of collection…
“It could be a lot,” Whinery says. “You could easily burn through hundreds of thousands of dollars to take this to trial. And the Brandmeyer people can probably hire (someone like) Lathrop & Gage for a couple hundred thousand and shoot the thing down…It’s going to be a long, hard slog for (Mammoth) and their lawyers are probably going to be the ones who have to come up with the litigation costs…A lawsuit like this could bankrupt someone. They could drag this out for five years.”
“They probably have just enough juice to get a nuisance fee, but they do not want to go to trial with a Lathrop & Gage,” Whinery says. “They’re (probably) going to have to settle because they can’t go to war with the big boys…They want to pierce the LLC’s corporate veil, so they can go after Brandmeyer personally, because that’s where the deep pocket (probably) is.”
There you have it…
One failed music fest, two disappointed concert bookers, a seemingly well-inentioned promoter wannabe and a whole lotta lawyers.
Sounds like the Perfect Storm…