Patti LaBelle brings claim for non-payment of appearance fees

April 2005

Live Event Industry

Patti Labelle (nee Patricia Edwards) has brought an action through her management company, Pattonium Inc, against an American promoter Kensey Wright and Fifth Degree Entertainment after she was promised $150,000 to perform at the annual football classic between N.C. Central University and N.C. A&T University during the summer of 2003. She alleges that she was told that a portion of the money from the concert would go to scholarships. She also says she was led to believe that travel and hotel expenses for herself, her band and her stage crew would be covered. The suit is for breach of contract, unjust enrichment and fraud and filed in Chesapeake Circuit Court. Wright, through his attorney, Bernard T. Holmes, denies the allegations. Holmes described the event as a charitable concert that lost money but is quoted as saying “Putting on any concert is an undertaking,” he said. “Anything can go wrong at any time.” According to the lawsuit, Labelle arrived at the RBC Center in Raleigh on August 29th 2003, and performed, even after she realized she would not be paid in full, according to the lawsuit to entertain fans. LaBelle was to be paid $75,000 before the concert and the remaining $75,000 just prior to taking the stage, according to the lawsuit. Wright allegedly gave LaBelle $9,873 before the concert, then gave her a “promissory note” or an IOU for $75,126, plus interest payable on September 10th 2003, according to the lawsuit. In the promissory note, Wright listed as assets his interest in the concert and entertainment business and a dwelling. Wright, however, did not own the property, according to the suit. In addition to Wright, the lawsuit names Fifth Degree Records Inc., Fifth Degree. The lawsuit seeks $179,377 in expenses and an additional $350,000 in punitive damages. The expenses, according to the lawsuit, are for the following: $140,126 for the concert performance; $12,004 for airfare; $11,550 for the band payroll; $11,725 for the crew payroll; and $3,970 for the hotel. From an article by John Hopkins at the Virginian Pilot at:

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