Ron White is suing a California promoter for breach of contract for allegedly not paying the comedian for three shows he performed earlier this year.
The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, accuses Brian Martin of BMP Events of reneging on $207,000 for California shows performed February 9th, February 29th and March 3rd. The suit also seeks interest and fees related to the case.
John MacDonald, White’s manager, said he’d done business with Martin before with no problems, including a March 1st show in Santa Cruz, Calif.
"We did a three-day run with him and the building paid us in Santa Cruz," MacDonald told Pollstar. "That’s part of why I had confidence that the guy was also going to make good on this stuff. He’s been a good promoter for us for five years.
"Usually by Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning, he’s wired you the money and that’s what we expected. When we didn’t get the wires by Wednesday, that’s when the stories started."
MacDonald said Martin’s explanation for the settlement delay was he lost money in November when Tulsa Entertainment Group, operators of the Brady Theatre in Tulsa, Okla., pulled out and the venue shuttered.
Meanwhile, Martin continued to update MacDonald on the status of the payment and his efforts to obtain it.
In a copy of the lawsuit obtained by Pollstar, Martin agreed to make a series of payments of $12,500 each from 11 George Jones dates in Canada April 7-23 and two May shows with The Temptations and The Four Tops at $20,000 each.
That arrangement didn’t work out.
"It turns out that while he’s negotiating this, he’s not even involved with George Jones," MacDonald said, adding that Jones agent Reggie Mac told him Martin wasn’t involved with the tour. "The whole thing doesn’t make sense."
White’s attorney, Richard Idell, was also notified that a judgment in the amount of $266,000 had been entered against Martin March 26th by another party on a different matter and was first in line for any potential settlement.
However, Idell intends to pursue the judgment.
"We entered into an agreement, which is public record. The balance was supposed to be paid in November but when the time came to pay, nothing happened," he told Pollstar. "Since the judgment has been entered, we’ve been trying to get [Martin] in for a deposition but we’re unable to find him.
"My client instructed me to try and collect the judgment, so that’s what we’re going to try to do."
Meanwhile, Martin issued the following statement in response to Pollstar’s inquiries about the lawsuit:
"BMP is currently involved with plaintiffs in litigation against the Tulsa Entertainment Group/Johnny Buschardt resulting from a George Jones concert produced by BMP at the Brady Theatre November 29, 2007. The final settlement check provided by the theatre was returned as non-sufficient funds and has not been replaced. When contacted about it, Buschardt said the TEG had folded and referred further inquiries to his legal counsel. Efforts to reach legal representatives designated by Mr. Buschardt were met with multiple unreturned calls and e-mails.
"This loss had a direct effect on BMP Events’ ability to meet further obligations well into 2008, including shows produced with Ron White. BMP has recognized the obligation to Ron White and stipulated to a legal judgment. We anticipate resolving and putting this behind us soon."