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Starplex, Smirnoff, Superpages -- Whatever the Name, It's Still Late on $800,000 in Rent Payments to City

A busy day full of stuff and nonsense, to be sure. Alas, something of substance: the City Auditor's Office's report concerning money the Smirnoff Music Centre owes the city. And, far as the audit's concerned, it's not an insubstantial amount that Live Nation needs to fork over pronto -- only somewhere along the lines of $842,970, give or take a few cents, for lease payments dating from 2001 to 2006 along with accountants' fees. Notes the audit, which the council received Friday and which Randall Hanks at the city was kind enough to e-mail Unfair Park's way:

We believe that, based upon our work and the work of Weaver and Tidwell, LLP (the outside Certified Public Accountants), Live Nation (formerly the House of Blues) owes the City a total of $842,970. This amount is comprised of $777,213 for underpaid Lease revenues and interest for calendar years 2001 through 2006, in addition to $65,757 for the Certified Public Accountants’ fee.

The cause for the underpayment was House of Blues / Live Nation did not report and calculate the lease payments to the City in accordance with the Lease.

Craig D. Kinton's office also wants the city to review its policy on gratis ducets handed out to city officials by Live Nation:

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In addition, the City’s policy on complimentary tickets is unclear. It was customary for the House of Blues / Live Nation to make complimentary tickets available to City officials for events held at the Smirnoff Music Centre. Gift (complimentary) tickets were one of the items not reported by House of Blues / Live Nation in the revenue lease payments. However, without clear policies regarding the solicitation or acceptance of complimentary tickets, these transactions could be viewed as potential violations of either State statutes or City ordinances.

Given ticket prices at the House of Blues, the company can no doubt afford to pay back the city in five, six days at most. --Robert Wilonsky

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