Carreras Refund Chaos

Serbian promoter Dragan Vujin has caused chaos over the refunds for his canceled Jose Carreras show at Belgrade Arena, leaving the ticketing agency with no real idea about how it can handle the situation.

Ticketline was left high and dry after promising to start paying back the money for the October 2 cancellation on October 15.

That date had to be scrapped because Vujin allegedly failed to fulfill his contractual obligation to return the US$40,000 he was advanced. He told local media he’d already started paying the refunds.

He said the ticketing company should now hand over the rest of the box office takings to him.

The Belgrade equivalent of the fraud squad has already got a warrant for Vujin’s arrest, although Ticketline hasn’t had any contact with him since the show was canceled.

"He was in the papers saying he is paying people who send in a copy of the ticket to his address, but what happens when people then bring the original ticket to us for a refund?" complained Ticketline chief Dejan Dimitrijervic, who has planned a November 1 press conference at Belgrade Arena to give the public a clearer view of what’s happening.

"In all of my 17 years of working in this business I have never come across a person who behaves in such an unprofessional way. It is in the contract that he should return all the money for Ticketline to make the refunds, and we still have two-thirds of it because we hadn’t forwarded it by the time the show was canceled."

Dimitrijervic said he’s glad his company had hung on to that money because it means two-thirds of the 1,600 ticketholders (the venue holds 18,000) will get refunds, but distributing the money is a little complicated.

"I’ve asked Vujin to send me a list of the people that he’s paid so that we can cross-refer with the names and addresses of people coming to us for refunds, but I haven’t heard anything from him. He’s disappeared," Dimitrijervic explained.

He says he hopes to start making refunds from the two-thirds of the box office that Ticketline is still holding as soon as he’s used the November 1 press conference to fully explain his company’s position.

He told Pollstar that he still hopes Belgrade’s financial police will flush out Vujin before he meets the media.

Vujin, who hadn’t paid any deposits for the famous tenor’s performance, canceled within three days of the show, citing problems getting equipment in from Hamburg. Belgrade Arena chief George Milutinovic, a promoter with decades of experience, said there was plenty of time to do it if all the paperwork was in order.

Vujin has since caused further confusion in the Serbian press by operating under the name of AEG, causing some journalists to query his connection with the Los Angeles-based music giant.

A report in Belgrade – 24 Hours claimed the office address Vujin is using is actually his parents’ home address.

In the summer he managed to get Artie Kornfeld to become associated with his Roadfest – a sort of Serbian Woodstock – until the co-founder of the original American Woodstock began to worry that he was being taken for a ride.

Vujin had set up a Web site claiming he’d booked acts that he hadn’t contacted and, along with using Kornfeld’s name, hoped it would be enough to persuade sponsors to pitch in.

The acts got wise to the fact they were being advertised for a festival they hadn’t heard of, Kornfeld pulled out, and the phantom two-day open-air on a river island site at Zrenjanin was no more.

Vujin blamed "lack of support from the municipality of Zrenjanin and the government of Serbia."