Rosemont mayor gets shy over Garth Brooks concert finances

January 2015

Live events sector


Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephenshas been in the firing line after trying to hide details of a Garth Brooks concert from prying eyes. The village recently passed an ordinance to keep secret the financial details related to Brooks’ record-breaking concert run — an unusual move that came out after the Chicago Tribune filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to his September shows at Allstate Arena. However, the new ordinance gives the Mayor and other officials the power to withhold documents if they believe the release would put the village-owned entertainment venues at a competitive disadvantage. In addition to the arena, the town owns and operates the Rosemont Theatre and the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. The Tribune requested the records on Sept. 11, while Brooks was in the middle of his 11-concert run at Allstate Arena. Brooks, who had not toured in 16 years, sold 183,535 tickets for his Rosemont shows and broke the North American ticket sales record for a single city with an estimated gross of $12 million. Village officials have released some documents connected to the concerts, but they repeatedly have declined to provide unredacted financial information. Village records do show that Brooks’ promoter received a “rebate,” though the amount was blacked out. The Tribune has appealed Rosemont’s handling of its open records request to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office, saying the documents should not have been redacted because they involve public funds.

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