ALBANY – The promoter of a cancelled 2018 James Taylor/John Legend concert that was intended to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Times Union Center arena is seeking dismissal of a lawsuit by the center’s management company, and alleging that evidence has been withheld in the case.
Metropolitan Entertainment Consultants, a major regional concert promotion business, is responding after SMG, which manages the Times Union Arena, sued Metropolitan in U.S. District Court in August 2018, charging it breached a co-production agreement.
The lawsuit alleged that Metropolitan couldn’t come up with its share of advance payments to the artists, and was responsible for cancellation of the gala show planned for Jan. 26, 2018. The concert was cancelled less than a week before it would have gone on.
Metropolitan has since counter-sued SMG, which last year merged with AEG Facilities, and is now known as ASM Global. That case charges that SMG improperly cancelled the concert. Each side is seeking significant damages from the other.
In an omnibus motion to dismiss the SMG lawsuit filed Thursday with U.S. Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel, Metropolitan is charging that new information revealed through the court case discovery process that SMG was considering cancelling the show and had sought modified contract terms from the artists without consulting Metropolitan.
“Because he had lost confidence in SMG, not Metropolitan, James Taylor’s manager, Sam Feldman, declined any further involvement in the concert, leading to SMG’s third, and final, cancellation of the concert,” according to a press release from one of Metropolitan’s lawyers, Robert J. Pearl of Pittsford.
According to Feldman’s sworn testimony, and the evidence concealed from Metropolitan, Feldman would not reconsider having James Taylor perform at the concert because of SMG’s “missteps what appear to be fabrications, conflicts and so on” which led Feldman to believe “this is not a date my artist should perform at and come out unscathed.”
Metropolitan is charging that the concealment of the evidence was deliberate and has asked the court to award monetary damages to Metropolitan and to grant other court sanctions, including dismissal of the complaint.
“In my entire long career in the music industry, I have never been more disappointed in an organization than I am now with SMG,” said John Scherr, president of Metropolitan. “My relationship with SMG has always been positive and professional, but the events surrounding the Albany concert and the lawsuit which followed have been a personal affront to me and my company.”
Robert Ganz of Albany, the attorney representing SMG, said the discovery process is ongoing, and he will be responding in court to the new motion to dismiss the case. His company will continue to maintain that it was Metropolitan’s breach of contract by failing to pay advance monies by 10 days before the concert date, which he said economically damaged the TU Center’s bottom line.
“SMG strongly disputes the distorted claims set forth in Metropolitan’s motion and press release,” he said in an email on Friday. “It should be noted that Metropolitan’s submission contains only out-of-context allegations, not proven facts or judicial findings.
According to court papers, Taylor was to be paid $600,000 and Legend $500,000 for what was intended as a celebration of a $20 million refurbishing of the Times Union Center.