http://www.journalpioneer.com/News/Local/2011-12-19/article-2841971/City-aims-to-settle-concert-lawsuit/1City aims to settle concert lawsuit
Published on December 19, 2011
SUMMERSIDE – The City of Summerside has holstered its guns in the $1.3-million lawsuit against a California promoter and is looking to settle.
The former city council’s closed-door decision to send two payments of $650,000, a total of $1.3 million of taxpayers’ dollars, to Starlink Productions in San Jose California for a Michael Jackson Tribute Tour concert has been headline news for several months.
The concert never materialized and the city sued the promoter for fraud. The city wanted the money back, but that’s not going to happen.
On Monday night council approved a resolution to have its California legal counsel seek a settlement.
The settlement talk means there is little hope the city will see the return of all the $1.3 million.
Deputy Mayor Bruce MacDougall said council has agreed on an amount it would accept in a settlement but would not make the number public.
“I said I couldn’t talk about it because it’s before the courts,” MacDougall said. “It’s an agreement and until that agreement is signed there will be no further discussion.
"This is basically the resolution done up by city council that we’re OK, we’re accepting the agreement once this is forwarded on to our legal counsel in the States and they can move forward. We’ve been advised by our legal counsel that there be no further discussion and no information released until after the agreement has been signed.”
MacDougall said details of the agreement should be available once it is settled.
“I hope so,” he said. “We hope to give you some more information on some of the details, but right now we can’t disclose anything.”
Initially council appropriated $77,000 for the suit against the promoters. That money was quickly spent and the question now is how much more has been allocated to date.
MacDougall wasn’t sure.
“I would assume that there’s more,” he said. “That information will come out at a later date. Council has basically agreed to a settlement, but until that settlement is signed by both parties, nothing has been agreed upon.”
When pushed about the agreed number by council on a settlement, MacDougall was asked if it was around $500,000.
“I can’t disclose anything. We’ve basically been working on this for the last month or so, probably more than that.
MacDougall said the city opted to settle rather than pursue the lawsuit “because of the costs involved.”
“We’d all like to have our money back,” he said. “All of it back, but council, as a whole, agreed to an amount so we’re moving this forward through our legal counsel.”
MacDougall said he is not personally happy with a settlement.
However, “We’ve all agreed as a council to move with a number that we have, move forward and put it behind us."
Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart was as evasive as his deputy mayor on the settlement that the city is seeking.
“We just passed a resolution tonight on the advice of our lawyers and we’ll see how things unfold,” the mayor said. “Hopefully things will work out well.
“We’re advised strongly by our in-house lawyers, Johnathan Greenan and Derek Key, that this is the way the city should proceed and not have any further discussion on it and see how it unfolds.”
Stewart declined to comment on the notion that the city gave up on the suit because there was no hope of winning.
“I can’t comment on that,” he said. "We’re optimistic that things will work out fairly well.” The resolution:
The City of Summerside passed a resolution Monday night to seek a settlement in its lawsuit against a California concert promoter.
Whereas the City filed an action in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Jan. 27, 2011, in the matter of City of Summerside v. Katrina Sussemier et. Al.:
And Whereas the City’s California legal counsel has been engaged in settlement discussions with representatives of several defendants names in the City’s action;
And whereas Council has been briefed by external legal counsel on the options and costs for advancing the City’s action, the prospects of success and recovery and the consequences of settlement;
And whereas Council has weighed the advantages and disadvantages of continuing litigation;
And whereas Council has reviewed privileged communications setting out proposed terms of settlement;
Be it resolved that: Nicholas F. Dunn and Bert H. Deixier, as attorneys for the City of Summerside, are hereby authorized to execute settlement documentation on behalf of the City of Summerside and to bind the City on such terms of settlement as previously directed by the City through its external counsel.”