Klinger’s Bankruptcy Hat-Trick

For the third time in six years, a company using Wolfgang Klinger as a consultant has filed bankruptcy. But the latest failure may well cause a bigger ripple than the other two, as some of his key business partners are among those owed money.

Maksa Catovic of Belgrade-based Komuna, which was to promote the canceled July 7 Rolling Stones show at the city’s horse racing track, is so furious that the Vienna-based promoter hasn’t returned the euro 200,000 he paid up-front that he’s taking the matter up with Michael Cohl of Live Nation’s The Next Adventure, who produces the band’s tours worldwide. Catovic also said he’s already informed John Giddings of Solo Agency, which is the agent for the band’s European shows.

Catovic said he paid euro 150,000 to a company that was then called Rock & More under an agreement that would make him the band’s promoter for the Stones’ August 2003 show.

He also said he paid Klinger a further euro 50,000 in cash. This wasn’t mentioned in the agreement but Catovic says he has a receipt to cover it.

The show was canceled because of a security clampdown following the March 2003 assassination of Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic, but Catovic couldn’t get his money back from Rock & More.

“They said the money should be held over for the next Stones show and I agreed because I really wanted and still want to do the act,” he told Pollstar.

“The show came up for July 2006 but that was also canceled because of illness and, since then, I’ve been trying to get the money returned again.”

Catovic said he wants the people who run the tour to know the full story because he doesn’t believe they’re aware that Klinger sold the rights to promote shows or that the act saw any of the money.

The agreement that’s said to cover the apparent licensing of the Stones show was signed by Rock & More managing director Heimo Hanserl on December 16, 2002.

Lasse Olsson from Viva Art in Stockholm, which worked with Rock & More on a 2005 Balkan tour for “Lord of The Dance” that was canceled at the last minute over a contractual wrangle and this summer’s disastrous David Copperfield dates, declined to comment on whether his company is another that will lose money over the bankruptcy.

Klinger told Pollstar that the latest bankruptcy has nothing to do with him as he was only a consultant to Rock & More, didn’t own any shares in the company and the business had been sold before the bankruptcy.

He also said the company didn’t owe any money to Komuna and that, in fact, it was actually the other way around.

An October 27th bulletin from Handelsgericht Wien, the city’s bankruptcy court, says a company called MT Veranstaltungs GmbH (formerly called Rock & More Veranstaltungs Gm) is officially “Insolvenzdatei.”

Masseverwalter Dr. Susi Pariasek, acting as official receiver, will gather information from all those who claim to be owed money, and a creditors’ meeting is scheduled for December 18th.

Some Vienna production suppliers and a couple of Linz venues are still believed to be owed money from shows that Klinger arranged before Rock & More was either sold or changed its name.

Austrian company records show Rock & More Veranstaltungs Gm became MT Veranstaltungs GmbH in February and that Hanserl has also stepped down as managing director.

Klinger said this is because Hanserl sold the company (and its debt mountain) and the new owner changed the name, a move that left the former Rock & More Veranstaltungs Gm managing director free to set up a new company called Rock & More Beteilegunts.

The new company also has Klinger as a consultant and is believed to have a summer 2007 Vienna show with a re-formed Genesis (without Peter Gabriel), which is expected to go on sale as the soon as the tour is officially announced.

The bankruptcy and the alleged sale of the company both come as a surprise. In June, although he was only a consultant to Rock & More, Klinger reacted to rumors that German ticketer CTS Eventim was about to buy the company by saying, “No – we are not for sale anyway.”

He said the company was doing too well to be sold, although – within the space of six months – that situation appears to have undergone a radical change.

Klinger’s own bankruptcies were with Rock Production promoting company and VSG, a sister supply company, which tanked with a euro 2.5 million splash.

The collapse of Rock Production meant that he and business partner Andi Egger had to leave the board of Austrian Promoters Group (APG), which they’d set up as a conglomerate with most of the country’s major promoters.

Four years ago, the financial collapse of Libro, – APG’s parent company – had left the promoters group without financial backing and it soon followed suit.

– John Gammon