U.K. Promoter Hit For £2.3 Million

A U.K. promoter who ran a charity event supported by such stars as Brooke Shields and former Eurythmic Dave Stewart has been hit for £2.3 million by a Singapore court.

Tony Hollingsworth, who had 6.15 million Singapore dollars (US$4.89 million) out of the local tourist board to produce an event called Listen Live, was told he has to repay it all because he failed to come up with the goods.

Hollingsworth, the man behind such companies as Children’s Media Limited (CML) and Tribute Third Millennium Limited, partnered with the Singapore Tourist Board (STB) to stage Listen Live at the 40,000-capacity National Stadium in the autumn of 2005.

Hollingsworth postponed the show, which was scheduled for September 30 and October 1, to April 2006. He then canceled it altogether three months before it was due to happen.

He refused to return the money, reportedly claiming that his companies had also put in £3 million. He said the whole £5 million-plus pot had been legitimately used to globalise the campaign, attract sponsorship and prep the Singapore show.

He claimed the show was canceled because the money ran out before a sponsor was found. The STB filed suit in the Singapore High Court in March 2006.

The case was heard last September and October before Honourable Justice Lai Siu Chiu, who deferred giving his ruling until May 27.

Two weeks after last autumn’s hearings, Hollingsworth’s Listen Live was the subject of a Daily Telegraph feature that said the next staging of the event would be in Los Angeles this June.

The paper said Mick Jagger, Mary J. Blige, Eric Clapton, Joss Stone, Shakira, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera and Bon Jovi were all rumoured to be involved, although that show also appears to have evaporated.

Listen released a November statement announcing the launch of Listen Campaign 1, a programme to raise funds for more than 200 children’s charities and to "develop a worldwide community of supporters."

It said fund-raising broadcasts in 60 countries are projected to generate US$100 million in the first year and US$1 billion over 10 years.

Andrew Zweck of Live Nation’s Sensible Events, who worked with Hollingsworth on two events in 1997, says the Singapore incident isn’t the first time one of Hollingsworth’s Tribute companies has been in trouble.

Zweck signed a contract with Carlsberg for Tribute CL to produce an event to celebrate the brewer’s 150th anniversary, a show that left some London-based concert suppliers out of pocket.

"The concert took place at Wembley Stadium and 68,000 tickets were sold, which generated a lot of income in addition to what Carlsberg put in," Zweck recalls.

"However, despite the financial success of the event, the company went into liquidation with hundreds of thousand of pounds worth of debt, mainly due to suppliers in the concert industry around London."

Later that year his Tribute Moscow company was given about US$5 million to produce the city’s 850th-anniversary celebrations.

But Tribute Moscow also went bust and Hollingsworth failed to deliver the show he promised.

Moscow show producer Andrei Konchalovsky, who was instrumental in sourcing some of the money, later took High Court action in London, suing Hollingsworth for the fees he was owed.