Sturgis Trial Presses On

The civil trial over South Dakota’s failed Sturgis Music Festival has now lasted longer than the August 2004 fest did.

Ohio gambling guru/investor Ron Rose, a partner in Sturgis 2004, the limited-liability company that staged the festival during that year’s motorcycle rally, is the focus of a trial that began November 7th in Deadwood’s 4th Circuit Court, according to the Rapid City Journal.

Ad agency TDG Communications filed suit seeking $48,000 in unpaid bills, plus attorneys fees and punitive damage. The suit names Rose and Sturgis 2004 partners Ericka Hansen and Paul Barrow.

The planned eight-day fest – with a lineup including B.B. King and Hank Williams Jr. – lasted only three days before Rose pulled the plug, citing poor ticket sales and lack of funds.

Concert-goers who paid cash for tickets lost out, while stagehands and vendors didn’t get paid.

Rose testified November 15th by video conference from Dayton, Ohio, saying, “I gave 110 percent. I couldn’t have given more.”

Rose’s attorney, Michael Loos, argued that his client did everything he could to make the event a success, despite early misrepresentations by Hansen about big sponsorships, big crowds and other investors, the Journal said.

Loos contended that the now-broke Sturgis 2004 – not Rose – owes the money to TDG.

However, TDG’s legal eagles are reportedly going after Rose directly, accusing him of fraud and self dealing.

Rose apparently testified for more than two hours that he and his partners invested more than $1 million in Sturgis 2004. He added that Hansen sold them on the idea that the event would line up sponsorship deals worth $1 million or more.

Rose also testified that he didn’t take any cash – “Not one cent” – the paper reported.

His testimony was expected to resume November 18th.