Ticket Company Liquidated

The agency that sold the tickets for Celine Dion’s South African March tour and the one Josh Groban canceled in April was liquidated by a Johannesburg bankruptcy court May 27.

The ticketing company itself brought the application before Judge P. Burton-Fourie, claiming it was unable to pay debts of Rand 7 million ($900,000).

About $30,000 of it was due to Groban fans trying to get their money back via credit card charge-backs.

Managing director and sole shareholder Lisa Kuhle blamed Duncan Heafield’s Kusasa Commodities, which promoted Dion and Groban, for her company’s financial problems.

She told the court that Ticketconnection contracted with Kusasa to conduct the ticket sales and reservations for the two concerts, and to collect the proceeds of the sales.

"In spite of the potential of the Celine Dion concert, it was badly organised, and Ticketconnection was unable to sell as many tickets as had been anticipated," she told the court, according to the Mail & Guardian.

She said Kusasa has also run into financial problems and is unable to repay the box office money that Ticketconnection advanced the company for the Groban shows.

Kuhle claims the badly organised Dion concerts, and Kusasa’s financial problems, had received wide publicity, which had led to the cancellation of Groban’s scheduled tour of South Africa.

The result was that all the ticket holders for the Groban concerts had to be refunded.

She told the court that Kusasa has refused to refund her the proceeds from the Groban sales, which meant Ticketconnection didn’t have the cash to reimburse all the ticket holders.

Kuhle said Ticketconnection was in the process of laying off its staff and was unable to pay the monthly rental for its premises.

Heafield is due in court May 29 to face a $4.3 million fraud charge, after being freed on Rand 150,000 ($20,000) bail April 24.

The action is being brought by the Krok family, which has made a fortune from property, pharmaceuticals and the development of Johannesburg’s Gold Reef City.

The Kroks claim to have funded the Celine Dion tour via one of their companies.