Michaels Sues Cruise Company

Bret Michaels has more court time in his future after filing suit against the owners of a Canadian cruise ship company that he alleges operated a “bait and switch” scheme.

Michaels claims he was approached by Shoreline Tours’ Willie Donwell last year to perform two shows on a “Super Cruise” this fall in exchange for $750,000.

Unfortunately, Donwell “had no intention of paying the full fee” and “attempted to coerce Michaels to reduce his fee by $400,000 after Michaels had spent substantial time and money preparing for the event,” the suit says.

Donwell and his Shoreline partner Tim Towle allegedly concealed information and misrepresented facts regarding the nature of the deal, presenting Donwell as the promoter of the cruise and Shoreline as the “host travel agency” in connection with the outing. But in reality, Donwell entered the employment agreement “while acting as Shoreline’s unspoken agent,” and in an attempt to “insulate Shoreline from liability in the event Defendents’ fraudulent scheme failed,” the suit says.

And fail it did. Although Michaels received an initial $250,000 deposit from Shoreline, his representatives later received word from the company that it was “not directly involved in the Bret contract” and had advised that Donwell not forward any further funds to Michaels. Shortly thereafter, Donwell dropped out of the deal alleging health issues and Shoreline Tours began to complain of poor advance ticket sales.

On July 5, 2011, a representative for Michaels allegedly received a memo from Shoreline stating the company would “agree to continue to promote the cruise if Michaels agreed to accept a reduced fee in the amount of $100,000 in new money,” meaning Michaels would play for a grand total of $350,000, or $400,000 less than he originally agreed.

The suit says Shoreline has yet to make good on the outstanding $500,000 of the employment agreement, despite Michaels performing “all conditions, covenants and promises required of him under and in accordance with the terms of that agreement.”

The case brings a number of charges against Donwell and Towle including intentional fraud, civil conspiracy and breach of contract and seeks compensatory and reliance damages in an amount greater than $50,000, costs and attorney’s fees.