Promoter Cleared In Canada

A concert promoter in Stratford, Ontario, who bounced a $200,000 check just before a 2006 festival has been acquitted of charges including fraud and making a false statement in writing.

Promoter Chris Parson recently testified in a provincial superior court that he thought he’d found lenders in a National Hockey League player and a local businessman who would cover the remainder of a $400,000 advance to The Tragically Hip, the Beacon Herald reported.

Parson had reportedly received word from Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson, who’d connected the promoter with the lender contacts, that the men had agreed to put up the funds for the advance.

However, after Parson deposited the check into his company Standing Ovation Productions’ account and wired the money to the Hip’s agency, it was soon discovered that the loan had never made it to the promoter’s account, the Herald said.

At issue during the case was the communication timeline between Parson and Mathieson.

According to the Herald’s report, the mayor testified in court that while he may have sent the promoter a text message that said, “They’re in,” he followed up later in the evening with another message that said the men were not interested.

By then, it was too late. Parson testified he got the message after the advance funds had been transferred to the band.

An attorney for the province suggested Parson went to the bank late in the day and convinced bank staff to release the funds to the agency as part of a “scheme.”

Justice Roland Haines, who oversaw the case, ruled otherwise, explaining he had reasonable doubt about whether Parson’s intentions were dishonest.

“The issue is what was in his mind and what he subjectively believed when the check was deposited,” Haines said in court according to the paper. “He believed the funds to cover the check were in transit, already in the account or would be there within that day.”

Other acts at the fest included Nelly Furtado and Randy Bachman.