From Czechmates To Stalemate

Nick Hobbs is unlikely to reach an out-of-court settlement with former Charm Music partner Borek Jirik, after deciding not to attend a clear-the-air meeting the latter arranged at the Prague Hilton May 20.

Hobbs, who runs Istanbul-based Charmenko, says he has no need to meet Jirik until he’s repaid half of the losses the company’s suffered since it was formed in April 2008. He says he’s taking legal action if he can’t get his money back.

He told Pollstar the meeting has nothing to do with clearing the air and is no more than Jirik’s attempt to disrupt the recovery of the business and “deflect attention from his wrongdoings and incompetence.”

He said his lawyer will attend the meeting to question Jirik on his unauthorised drawings from the company.

Hobbs, who heads Istanbul-based Charmenko, set up Charm Music with Jirik in 2008 to stage arena shows in the Czech Republic, where Charmenko worked with club-level promoters.

But they’ve fallen out over the way the business was managed as it ran up hundreds of thousands in losses.

“I learned not to enter into a partnership unless your partner is prepared to put in as much money as you,” Hobbs explained.

He said Charmenko underwrote first-year losses in the region of euro 70,000 ($104,000), and he decided to discuss the matter with Jirik when it became obvious he wasn’t prepared to share the downside.

Hobbs said the matter appeared resolved a year ago when Hobbs agreed to buy out Jirik, who then pulled out of the deal a few hours before it was to be signed.

Two months later, Jirik resigned as executive director but still hung on to his shares.

Hobbs said he had no option but to keep working with Jirik as his Czech partner because in 2010 Charm had already lined up shows including Green Day, Radiohead, Joe Satriani, Public Enemy, Goldfrapp, The Gaslight Anthem, Gogol Bordello, Billy Idol and Massive Attack.

That year’s losses ran into “hundreds of thousands” and Hobbs’ lawyers have subsequently looked into how Jirik was running it.

Jirik has now allegedly stopped working with Hobbs and set up Punx Not Dead, which will organise this year’s new Prague City Festival June 23. The lineup includes The Hives, 30 Seconds To Mars, House Of Pain, Skindred, The Gaslight Anthem, Gogol Bordello and Hadouken.

He’s also booking acts for three other Czech festivals and is now competing with Hobbs to promote tours that visit the region.

Jirik denies any wrongdoing and claims the company could have made a lot of money in the Czech market in 2011 and that Charmenko failed to recognise that.