Summerside suing for concert funds

Mike Carson
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SUMMERSIDE — The City of Summerside has initiated legal action against a California promoter to recoup $1.3 million, which was advanced to the promoter to bring a major concert to the city.

On Monday, the city was to file a complaint with the United States District Court, Northern District of California, San Jose Division, for fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, negligent misrepresentation and rescission (rescinding) of a contract against Katrina Berg Sussmeier and Starlink Productions Inc.

In the Nature of Action against Sussmeier and Starlink Productions, the city alleges that in July 2009, Sussmeier presented the city with the opportunity to hold the Michael Jackson Tribute Concert featuring performances by Beyonce, Usher, Ne-Yo and Leona Lewis.

“In July and August 2009, Sussmeier pressured representatives of the city to act immediately to book the concert and represented that she and Starlink had the authority to arrange for such a mega-concert,” the Notice of Action claims.

The city entered an agreement with Sussmeier on July 24, 2009. In late July, Sussmeier emailed the city demanding an immediate wire payment of $650,000 so Beyonce’s appearance at the concert could be guaranteed.

“You’ll have Justin Timberlake, Ne-Yo, Usher, Beyonce if we get that wire,” she stated in an email to J.P. Desrosier, events and program development officer with the city.

The city sent the money and, in September, entered into a Deal Memorandum and Binder Agreement claiming Starlink was providing the services of artists arranging the Michael Jackson Tribute Show.

According to the city’s suit, “Sussmeier personally signed the memorandum on behalf of both Starlink and the purported artists who would appear at the concert.”

The court papers allege Sussmeier told the city she was working to produce the tribute show with Frank DiLeo, DLM Management Group/DiLeo Entertainment &Touring Inc. (DLM), who once was Michael Jackson’s personal manager.

Sussmeier told the city’s representatives that entities controlled by DLM and Mark Lamicka and Quincy Krashna, acting as agents for DLM, were arranging for the production of the concert.

Papers to be filed with the court claim that between October 2009 and March 2010, Sussmeier repeatedly assured the city the tribute concert was moving forward as scheduled.

By early March 2010, Sussmeier is alleged to have informed city officials that despite the agreement entered into in September requesting the $650,000, “in order to assure Beyonce’s appearance at the concert, the city would need to make a second payment of $650,000 and sign an amended Deal Memo and Binder Agreement.”

According to the complaint filed by the City of Summerside, Sussmeier told city officials that “Beyonce is waiting for your offer with deposit but won’t be waiting long,” and that she could “absolutely confirm” that other acts were solid.

On March 10, the city wired a second $650,000 deposit to Starlink.

The city’s Notice of Action claims the Michael Jackson Tribute Show was “from start to finish an elaborate fraud ... no such concert existed.”

“On information and belief, the artists whom Sussmeier falsely represented would appear at the Tribute Show, including Beyonce, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, Ne-Yo and Leona Lewis (Timberlake had exited the concert plans earlier), had not agreed or ever committed to appear at any concert in Prince Edward Island in the summer of 2010.

“Moreover, on information and belief, the purported organizers of the concert had never obtained permission from the Michael Jackson estate or Jackson family to organize a tribute show for Michael Jackson in Summerside or elsewhere,” stated the city’s papers.

The action goes on to state, “Neither Beyonce nor any of her agents or representatives had ever sought the two payments of $650,000 that Sussmeier told the city would confirm and guarantee Beyonce’s appearance at the concert.”

The action further claims Beyonce’s management, on April 21, 2010, when first presented with the idea of performing in Summerside, rejected the idea.

“When Sussmeier in July 2009 and March 2010 induced payments of $650,000 from the city to confirm Beyonce’s appearance at a concert in Prince Edward Island, Beyonce had never even received a proposal for such a concert much less requested that the city or anyone else pay a deposit to secure such a concert.”

None of the city’s allegations have been proven in court.

Summerside Chief Administrative Officer Terry Murphy said the city had dealt successfully with Sussmeier’s company in promoting the John Fogerty concert in 2009 and trusted the promoter could deliver the promised concert in 2010.

“Unfortunately, the city was badly let down as the promoters did not deliver on the major concert as promised.”

Organizations: DLM Management Group/DiLeo Entertainment Touring, United States District Court, San Jose Division Katrina Berg Sussmeier and Starlink Productions

Geographic location: California, SUMMERSIDE, Northern District Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • fromawayandthankful
    January 26, 2011 - 13:32

    Boy.This Island must have a lot of young people because it seems like anyone with any financial responsibility or accountability ,especially in municipal and provincial government, was just born yesterday.I have never seen, and I have travelled extensively and lived in numerous other locales, such a lack of accountability to the taxpayers of this province and to the taxpayers of Canada ( because a great amount of the monies these jokers are spending are transfer payments from the other provinces).Who in their right mind would ante up 2 cheques for 650 K each and give them to a music promoter in another country for undelivered goods. Music promotion is a bigger gamble than playing the slots at the casino. Either these jokers really were born yesterday or they must have fallen off one of those proverbial turnip wagons we see being pulled every fall.

    • absolutely pathetic
      January 27, 2011 - 00:26

      No young people around here. Any young people with half a brain leave PEI for better salaries, more opportunities, and quite frankly, more stimulating and better organized and administered societies in other provinces. The ADULTS who are left in PEI elect the village idiots like Basil Stewart, Clifford Lee, Robert Ghiz, Olive Crane, etc. who don't know their heads from their a$$es. They cozy up to their patronage sucking criminal friends, then they blow money like this on pie in the sky ideas. And you know why they get away with this? Firstly because PEI is a cesspool of federal money that flows down the pipe because Chretien/Martin and now Harper want the 4 federal seats it has to offer. So there is no accountability for money that isn't yours to begin with. And secondly the politicians in PEI get away with it because every frigging person left on the island is related to the politicians who are in office - no matter what party. It's an incestuous hillbilly paradise propped up by equalization money from the rest of Canada. Want to change it? Drop the number of MPs in PEI from 4 to 1 and cut equalization and force the province to merge with other provinces (if they'll let PEI in) and make PEI a single municipality. Then the pot of free money dries up and the politicians get a lot smarter about how they spend their money.

  • Getoffthecouch
    January 26, 2011 - 02:04

    1.3 million? That's a lot of snake oil! How much snake oil can one small city buy?Someone quick,phone Guiness!,(note to town councilors) that would be the "book of world records" and not " the brewery ". We could then buy a few more white elephants, convert the Water Front Mall into the Great Museum Magic & Illusions, move in the white elephants , the snake oil, as well as a pallet of local tax dollars. We then book David Copperfield ;provided he doesn't need full payment upfront.We get him come to Summerside ,and make it all disappear.

  • G for Good
    January 25, 2011 - 23:10

    Some info on the Starlinks executive producer, Katrina Sussmeier (thank you google): Her facebook account -!/profile.php?id=1007550405&sk=wall Note she is on vacation from January 17 and won't be tending to her Farmville Farm. Her Twitter account -!/StarLinkProd Her love of Cairns Terriers - There's more, but there shouldn't be any trouble finding her, she's on Farmville. -g

  • prince edward
    January 25, 2011 - 18:25

    The Journal Pioneer ran this story long before our last municipal election. We knew that Basil Stewart et al. had effecitively lost our city 1.2 million on this very concert and yet the people still re-elected the very same mayor and most of the council?? Now all of sudden everyone realizes that maybe Basil doesn't deserve to be mayor, really?? Now?? Did you just need to hear the same story again read slower? Come on people...I will bet you 1.3 million that Elmer Williams would not have passed over a fraction of 1.3 million dollars *quietly* because he was told to!!! Never and not ever quietly behind closed doors! Make a note somewhere to not forget about this 1.3 million dollar mistake for when the next election rolls around...Actually, lets all beg Mr. Williams to throw his name on the ballot one last time when Basil Rightfully resigns, this week!!!$1.2-million-for-celebrity-concert/1

  • Charles Foster
    Charles Foster
    January 25, 2011 - 17:52

    I don't know what the city's financial controls are like but I do know of several service organizations that would only have paid such a sum into a lawyer's trust account pending performance of the contract. Furthermore, it is often a bad sign when a service provider requires all of the money up front especially when dealing with a customer, like a municipality, that can't exactly pack up its bags and disappear.

  • matt
    January 25, 2011 - 17:42

    What do you expect when you elect the same mayor for three decades. Basil wears this. Time for him to go.

  • Brenda
    January 25, 2011 - 15:50

    No one NO one NO ONE can be that stupid. There is more to this story.... And who wires $650,000 !

  • Fools....
    January 25, 2011 - 15:37

    A fool and his money are soon parted! Those who voted Basil back in....are you happy now?

  • Diesel Truck
    January 25, 2011 - 15:32

    They should send in Wes the Cat to get the money back. If he gets it let him walk.

  • nitpicker
    January 25, 2011 - 15:30

    you know, I could actually excuse them for the first installment, but the second installment is a different story. When the promoter writes something like: 'Beyonce is waiting for your offer with deposit but won’t be waiting long', I would have run for the hills. A comment like that reads like one of those offers that says you can make a fortune stuffing envelopes...but you gotta act now! Limited time offer!

  • TIppytoe
    January 25, 2011 - 15:16

    Their website is hilarious..looks like something I made for computer class @ Montague High in 1997. The "Hall of fame" is especialy high brow - Shanana, Manhattan Transfer, Danny I doudt this lady could land Wes the Cat to play Elvis covers at the Pensioners Club.

  • Diesel Truck
    January 25, 2011 - 15:15

    They should sent in "Wes the Cat" to get the money back. If he gets it let him walk.

  • not just summerside
    January 25, 2011 - 14:51

    Don't just blame Summerside Council for being less than correct in due diligence checks.A number of private companies providing services for the concert also believed that this was a legitimate promoter. Who recommended this promoter to Summerside??

    • Juanita
      January 25, 2011 - 16:43

      What I can't understand is why Summerside Council got involved in the concert business in the first place. Cavendish music festival and other large concerts in the Maritimes are put together by promoters (who know what they are doing) and apply to the government for funding to get it off the ground. Why would politicans get that close to organizing a concert!!!

  • rob diamond
    January 25, 2011 - 12:54

    it took me 30 seconds of google searching to see what she does. This was her thanks for the fogerty show?

  • islander
    January 25, 2011 - 12:50

    HOW POETIC The ad running next to this fail is for Tourism Charlottetown. They must be passing around the champagne this morning.

  • islander
    January 25, 2011 - 12:49

    Terry and the young guy who head their so called events department need to be given the boot. The ship is sinking and you send more money. Smells like there's more to this story.

  • Holy Summerside
    January 25, 2011 - 12:38

    Hard to believe; That any town or municipality could send that much. At the end of the day even if the promoter had brought someone to entertain us for the evening, Just how does that help the ordinary tax payer. Any gain would be in the buisness sector and they don't share any wealth. Oh!!! by the way will this mean that the mayor and council will be going to court to prove how stupid they were with our money. If they have to go to USA of course it should be at their own expense RIGHT good one this is going to be extra expense

  • smacks head against wall
    January 25, 2011 - 12:29

    All you need to do is check out their web site to know they are top notch

  • Not a Summerside resident
    January 25, 2011 - 12:21

    Thank goodness I'm not a Summerside resident. If I were I would be ripping. Handing over two lots of $650K of tax payers' money like it were a $10 deposit is naivete in the extreme and an outrageous act of incompetence. Would the council have handed over that amount of money if it were their own at stake? Why should taxpayers' money be treated any differently? It has the look of a scam being perpetrated upon a bunch of people who have let their brains go on vacation. Summerside residents should demand the resignation of any councillor who voted for this.

  • Metalhead
    January 25, 2011 - 11:57

    What a waste of money from a bunch of airheads lol!!! I went to Moncton to see Megadeth on July 27th. At least I know my music, used my own money, and didn't put it in the trust of airheads. I got to see Megadeth in Moncton, not Summerside!

    January 25, 2011 - 11:39

    Elected officials have already been judged at the voting booth. Time for a change in the administration end of this circus.In fairness this change should have occurred during or after the Griffin debacle, I'm doubtful it will ever happen.Summerside will end up with nasty property taxes.

  • Jack
    January 25, 2011 - 11:36

    Kowboy, get real. I didn't think anyone would have the audacity to stick up for city hall over this latest fiasco. You sound like one of the idiots who voted Basil to be mayor for life and its people like you who support him that should pay for this mess.

  • Troy McLure
    January 25, 2011 - 11:31

    Does this not remind anyone of the "Monorail in Springfield" episode. Wow the shiny snake-oil salesman from the south dupped the simple country folk of Summerside. This will be tied up in courts for years. Summerside will need get a loan to pay for leagal costs in "Cally-Forn-i-a" then deal with the filcker , maybe they can sue the windmill company?? Or perhaps Basil "Diamond Joe Quimby" Stewart can proprse an monrail be built from Summerside to Charlottetown, and recoup some of the legal losses. Wow a veteran politican gave away taxpayers money like it was nothing, can you say "Resignation" or firing of some city officals who approved this.

  • Seriously
    January 25, 2011 - 11:30

    According to the promoters facebook page, she just got back from vacation...must have been nice!

  • Jack
    January 25, 2011 - 11:27

    Unbelieveable. How could anyone in their right mind advance 1.3 million dollars to anyone let alone an outfit as sketchy as starlink productions. Did you see their web site? Unreal. I think the citizens of Summerside should being suing Basil, Terry Murphy and the rest of the clowns at city hall for incompetance

  • Jarrod
    January 25, 2011 - 10:57

    A few more thoughts off the top of my head. So we drop over a million dollars to bring these clowns here, and then we’re charged for ridiculously priced tickets? Screw that. I wouldn’t go see these acts if I was paid, let alone pay to see them. I notice that the majority of these singers (Beyonce, Usher, Timberlake) appeal mainly to teeny boppers, i.e. people who don’t pay a damn cent in terms of taxes. Lovely. And here’s a comment that annoys me: Nat said: “Are you KIDDING me?! Beyonce alone would never come to little PEI, let alone a lot of the other singers mentioned!” Why’s that? Are they too good for us? Quit denigrating PEI. Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Black Eyed Peas, etc weren’t too big to come here. I hardly think Beyonce is in the realm of singers people will remember 25 years from now. Stop pretending like this is how council fudged this deal. It was the way they handled our money. Who’s running City Hall? Basil Stewart or Ferris Bueller?

  • Alan
    January 25, 2011 - 10:36

    Looks like the rivalry to beat Charlottetown finally caught up to Summerside. It appears that it's beat the rest of the Island at all costs! Ch'town has the Rocket, so S'side wants Lewiston. Ch'town and Cavendish have had some sucessful concerts, so give a $million to some dudette in California to outdo the others. Where was this info during the just passed municipal election? I bet these officials and politicians would not be there.

  • Kowboy
    January 25, 2011 - 10:31

    I think the City council was acting in Summersides best interest and unfortunately got scammed. Its not the first case in the world were this happened. The council was trying to make things happen in their city which would create spinoffs that would reward the entire city. These representatives for the City are human and mistakes are made. If all negative feelings deter efforts for more events in the future then it will definately keep Summerside from benifiting . If this did come off as planned and Millions were generated , everyone would be singing their praises. Look at all the improvements this council has made for Summerside (waterfront, new arena,etc) .Its easy to kick someone when they are down.

    • reality check
      January 25, 2011 - 11:59

      Oh please....all it owuld have taken was a few simple phone calls, heck even checking out the Starline website to see that something smells funny. In this day and age there is not excuse for asking the right amount of questions when handing over that kind of money. I'm willing to wager that a call to Beyonce's management would have turned up a "never heard of Starline and we have no arrangements with them" answer. S'side council in too much of a hurry to ram something through.....also how is that waterfront with the big empty mall....looks great along with the empty rink, except for the 900 souls who show up for a Caps game.

    • Jasper
      January 25, 2011 - 13:06

      This so called 'city' cant even support a Berger King anymore , let alone a major concert.

  • martin
    January 25, 2011 - 10:27

    Remember the last legal mess they got into ,The GRIFFEN AFFAIR,THE lawyer who started that is now a justice of the Supream COURT

  • macbarr
    January 25, 2011 - 09:57

    one is born every minute and summerside has their share. greed and stupidity go hand in and. recall the whole bunch of bananas

  • Mark
    January 25, 2011 - 09:48

    I am so embarrassed for PEI right now! How could they be so naive? Who approved these money transfers? Wow sounds like someone with perhaps more brains and education should take over responsibility. Like NM said, he has some oceanfront property in Arizona duh what a bunch of geniuses.

  • hahahahahaha
    January 25, 2011 - 09:47

    Are you KIDDING me?! Beyonce alone would never come to little PEI, let alone a lot of the other singers mentioned! WTF is wrong with these people who our handling our tax dollars! Seriously they need to step down and give their head a MAJOR shake! I'm sure "Sussmeier" is laughing away somewhere in a foreign country, all while rolling in her easy pay from complete idiots!

  • Ed
    January 25, 2011 - 09:26

    Good luck with that. Now the City government is going to waste thousands more trying in vain to get back the $1.3 million lost. Mayor Stewart, do the right thing and resign and take your minions at city hall with you. And let those naive voters who elected you to another four years of the same old mismanagement of taxpayers money pay the bill for this latest fiasco

  • tugger lejohnson
    January 25, 2011 - 09:05

    The whole city council should be charged with STUPID! Just imagine in this day and age that a community of 15,000 people turn over 1.3 million dollars in advance for something that may or not happen. This is ridiclous and should be looked into, who would approve such a payment, I mean if negotiations were no farther ahead after the first $650,000, why go ahead and pay another $650,000. Council should be ashamed and whoever the offending council person who thought of this grand idea, step down, resign whatever, this was an epic failure with the city's money. I am sure that none of the council people would pull a stunt like this with their own money, so why do it with the taxpayers cash? Summerside may need help with things and a Mega concert is not the answer...

  • NM
    January 25, 2011 - 09:04

    I have some ocean front property in Arizona for sale... sounds like something the council in Summerside would be interested in....

  • Nat
    January 25, 2011 - 09:02

    What genious in Summerside was actually naïve enough to think acts such as Beyonce & Usher would ever be in PEI at the same time for such a show? Whoever agree'd to this 'deal' as well as whoever signed those cheque's should be fired immediately as it's clear they did not do their homework, nor did they show any form of commun sense... Genius I tell you, genius.

  • JimPants
    January 25, 2011 - 08:48

    Sounds like someone should resign!

  • jb
    January 25, 2011 - 08:46

    should there be included in this a press release warning other islanders of this potential scam, so no one else is so foolishly dooped? oh those email scams. haha.

  • Sside Res
    January 25, 2011 - 08:43

    No sense wasting our comments here. No one in the city will be held accountable it will just be business as usual. Use our tax dollars to do whatever you want..... A Michael Jackson Tribute concert in Summerside. .... at the racetrack. They will just throw the blame on the promoter because they are all in their own little world. Common Sense aint so common in these parts.

  • james
    January 25, 2011 - 08:33

    too threw your city's money away foolishly, looks good on ya..

  • Addie
    January 25, 2011 - 08:31

    Way to go Summerside. Just because you hired a sub-par promotor to get an act into the city in the past does that make it OK to hire her again? And asking for money the way she did is one of the oldest tricks in the book. How stupid was that? Some heads should roll over this. Did anyone check out her company, her web site or even images on Google. How many pictures do you see her in with big name artists? Believe me, this woman is NOT a major player in the entertainment business. Before sending the money, a few simple phone calls to artist's managers would have sorted this out as a scam. What a joke. Her scamming is no different than that of those phone sharks who call us. I would be surprised if the city ever sees one red cent of the money they sent to her. And guess who will also get rich over this? The lawyers on both ends (here and in California) We (taxpayers) will pay through the nose for this boon doggle. Major promotors who know about this must be laughing their heads off at he little hick town in Canada that wanted to play big went ahead and forwrded 1.3 mil to a second rate bozo who is likely claiming insolvency as we speak. Nice retirement fund for her free gratis from a bunch of idiots in Canada.

  • Jonathan
    January 25, 2011 - 08:24

    Wow now the tax payers have to foot a legal bill. your 1.3 million is gone it will become a bankrupcy claim. the town of summerside should sue whomever allowed this money to exchange hands. I gotta say what a brainless bunch of you know whats. i'd be willing to bet that someone in summerside has laundered a good 1/4 million of that cash into their own coffers. this deal has slime ball written all over it. Both the giver and taker should be jailed.

    January 25, 2011 - 08:09


  • Bridge for sale
    January 25, 2011 - 08:07

    Hey, Basil wanna bjuy a bridge. I think this is the case of an Old politician going one election too far...

  • T. Peters
    January 25, 2011 - 08:06

    First of all, who in their right mind would hand over 1.3 million in advance!!!! Personally, I think there are too many people in PEI that can't feed their families; and tthese guys are basically throwing out 1.3 million dollars!!!! Can't wrap my head around that one!!

  • Garth Staples
    January 25, 2011 - 07:59

    Caught in the headlights! It takes moxy to play in the big leagues.

  • Brian MacDonald
    January 25, 2011 - 07:54

    I have to say that i hope Summerside will get back the money. If they do not us Tax Payers should never have to pay it as we were not even giving any thought onto whether we wanted the concert or not. Last time i checked if we are the tax payers we should have some say into this and if we did i would say that us tax payers would not mind helping out once in awile.

    • Me
      January 25, 2011 - 09:28

      Brian.... Do you exercise your right vote? If so, there is your day. if not then you have effectively forfeited your right to a "say".

  • reality check
    January 25, 2011 - 07:52

    Oh where are the "forward thinking city council" comments now....the great Dictator got hoodwinked! Watching Basil spend city money is like watching Jack trade the cow for magic beans.....only there's no giant beanstalk growing out the ground with riches found high above....the only giant here is Dictator Basil's ego and his continuance in thinking he can run with the big boys when it comes to this sort of thing.....mega-concerts, major junior teams, mostly empty rink....stop trying so hard and live with the fact you're a 15,000 populated city and NOT the capital of the Island. Take that $1.3 (if you ever get it back) and invest it in creating some jobs like attracting businesses to that delapitated mall on the waterfront!!! Maybe some day the citizens will wake up to the mis-management of their tax dollars up there and vote Basil out.