TicketNetwork CEO Takes Leave

The CEO of TicketNetwork has announced he will take a leave of absence from the company following a recent arrest after an incident at an Oscars party.

Donald Vaccaro was charged with intimidation based on bigotry or bias, threatening, breach of peace and interfering with an officer, according to police reports.

Officers were called to the party at Real Art Ways in Hartford, Conn., on an assault complaint early Feb. 27, according to the report obtained by the local Courant. There, they were told Vaccaro had grabbed a woman and made a racial slur toward a bouncer when asked to leave.

Following the incident, Vaccaro called the incident “very unfortunate” in a statement to the paper.

“I am deeply concerned about what has been reported and I am taking the allegations very seriously,” he said through a PR firm. “People who know me are well aware that my approaches to life and work are highly inclusive and the comments reported do not reflect my values.”

In light of the incident, Vacarro announced his leave of absence from TicketNetwork. The company also told the paper it would pull out of an economic incentive program that had promised TicketNetwork millions in state funding to create jobs in the region last summer.

“Due to the personal incident involving our CEO … we feel that it is necessary to respectfully withdraw from the First Five program in an earnest attempt at preserving our future relationship with the state,” TicketNetwork counsel Andra Mazur said.

The First Five funding would have included a $4.5 million, 10-year loan for equipment, furniture, building acquisition and facility improvements and another state agency had planned to pitch in nearly $2 million for technology, office equipment and fixtures.

To secure the funding, TicketNetwork had pledged to add hundreds of jobs in Connecticut within a 10-year period. Gov. Dannel Malloy praised the company at the time.

“I want to make sure that these types of innovative enterprises establish roots here in Connecticut, and continue to create jobs and make capital investments that will directly benefit the local and state economies,” he said.

The Oscars party incident was not the first time Vaccaro was accused of inappropriate behavior. In 2009 a TicketNetwork employee filed suit against the company claiming Vacarro touched her inappropriately and made sexual advances toward her at a company-sponsored Halloween party.

She said she was fired two days after filing a complaint, but TicketNetwork claimed she was fired for not making a required number of sales calls per day. The case was working its way toward trial when the plaintiff abruptly withdrew the action in July 2011, the Courant said.