Stewart Testifies

Rod Stewart took the stand August 31st and told a Las Vegas jury he had to cancel a December 2000 show because of throat surgery. Stewart is being sued for $2 million that he kept after the cancellation.

The singer wants to reschedule a New Year’s Eve show that he could not perform at the Rio Suite Hotel & Casino. Harrah’s Entertainment, which owns the property, is suing Stewart for the deposit, claiming the contract allows for a return of the money.

Stewart contracted for a December 1999 millennium concert for $3 million, and negotiations resulted in a followup New Year’s show the next year at the $2 million figure. The singer performed the first concert but canceled the second due to thyroid cancer surgery over the summer. Now that he has recovered, Stewart wants to reschedule but Harrah’s will have none of it.

Harrah’s CEO Gary Loveman testified that his company was under “great pressure” to schedule the second concert and it was an agreement he was unhappy with, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Stewart’s camp allegedly threatened to pull out of the 1999 show at the last minute unless the casino booked the singer for the New Year’s Eve 2000 weekend.

“This isn’t my money,” Loveman told the jury. “It’s the shareholders’ money. I’m asked to look after it in a responsible fashion.”

Stewart estimated he has performed 150 shows since his surgery and said he would be willing to play up to two makeup concerts if Harrah’s would agree. Loveman said another performance date wouldn’t be profitable because the lucrative millennium celebration weekend had come and gone.

Harrah’s is suing for the deposit plus interest and attorney fees.