Hip-Hop Promoter Sues NY Town

A New York promoter has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against town officials in Fishkill and the administrators of a small stadium, claiming a hip-hop concert he organized was blocked for racial reasons.

Fred Jeune, president of Prezidency Corp., acquired a permit and all necessary paperwork – including insurance – to host a hip-hop and reggae concert at the 4,500-capacity Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill September 24th, according to Jeune’s attorney, James Monroe.

“It’s our contention that the administrators of the stadium and local officials got wind that it was going to be a reggae, hip-hop style concert and the administrators took steps to prevent this type of performance from going forward because of its ethnic spin,” Monroe told Pollstar.

The plaintiff is asking for actual damages for not being able to promote the event and $5 million in punitive damages because it is a “classic case of racial discrimination,” Monroe said.

The suit alleges that Fishkill’s former Chamber of Commerce president and the town’s building and fire inspector misled the town board, convincing the members that the required approvals had not been granted.

Fishkill Supervisor Joan Pagones told the Poughkeepsie Journal the permit was denied because the promoters could not show town board members a signed contract at a September 15th meeting.

“I remember asking them if they could go to [the chamber] office and bring it back, that we’d still be in session for a while,” Pagones told the paper. “They left and they never came back.”

The current president, Ann Chambers Meagher, could not be reached for comment but told the Journal she was not aware of the lawsuit and declined to say anything more before consulting with the chamber’s law firm.

The facility is a baseball stadium owned by City of Beacon School District, which Monroe said has served as a concert venue from time to time. He added that Prezidency Corp. has promoted other shows, mostly in nightclubs.