Promoters sue T-Pain for US$5M

-following cancelled Mash concert
Local promoting company Hits & Jams Entertainment has slapped US artiste T-Pain and his camp with a US$5 million lawsuit for the cancellation of his much hyped Mash night concert.

In a suit filed in a Miami, Florida court on Monday last, Hits & Jams operators Kerwin Bollers, Rawle Ferguson and Dwith Ferguson named T-Pain, Nappy Boy Touring Company, Chase Entertain-ment and David Abram among others as the defendants in action, seeking damages for breach of contract, libel, defamation and infliction of emotional distress.

T-Pain, whose real name is Faheem Najm, received US$75,000 to perform at the February 23 Mashramani night concert at the George-town Cricket Club (GCC) but cancelled mere hours before based on what his management termed “credible” information that he would have been kidnapped and killed had he set foot in Guyana. This forced the concert organisers to quickly assemble an array of Caribbean performers at the last minute in order for the show to go on.

According to the suit, even before the cancellation of his trip to Guyana, T-Pain was a real pain, demanding the promoters arrange among other things, a private jet to facilitate his travel to Guyana. T-Pain’s management demanded the jet, noting that one was made available to his Konvict Music label mate Akon for his performance in Guyana.

Hits & Jams, which held itself in the suit as providing consultancy services to the government, GT&T and Ansa McAl and providing lighting and stage production for all major events in Guyana, was hired by the Guyana Government to promote last year’s show at the National Stadium, at which Akon performed. The promoters explained to T-Pain’s management that Akon was booked only 24 hours before the concert and there was no available seat on the commercial flights. Subsequently, Hits & Jams purchased eleven airline tickets, including five first class tickets, for T-Pain and an entourage. Later, it was forced to buy additional tickets as five persons were substituted and the airline did not allow a change of names on the previous purchased tickets.

T-Pain also allegedly failed to live up to other terms of his contract, refusing to facilitate a radio interview which the promoters were banking on to generate additional hype for the concert.

Five days before the show, Hit & Jams said defendant Abram forwarded to the booking agent in the US an alleged e-mail of a breaking news clip that stated that the concert was in jeopardy because of an injunction filed against the company to prevent them from using the GCC.

After being advised that there was no such injunction, Abram in a telephone conversation with the agent said he had been advised by a credible source associated with the singer’s camp that should he travel to Guyana he would have been killed. He later informed Bollers that they were informed that there was a group planning to kidnap and kill T-Pain because they were not paying their “dues” to the “street guys” for work performed at last August Akon’s show.

Abram offered to refund the full US$75,000 advance payment to the company and to assist with damage control for cancellation but the plaintiffs advised him that his settlement failed to account for all damages incurred by them and that it would not remedy the disappointment to the Guyanese fans.

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