New Jersey State Attorney General David Samson filed a civil lawsuit on Oct. 21 against Clear Channel Entertainment, operator of the publicly owned PNC Bank Arts Center in Homdel, for violating state law by giving American Express cardholders first crack at advance tickets to 33 events last summer featuring such performers as Jewel, Marc Anthony, Chicago, Santana, Alicia Keys, and Barry Manilow, according to the lawsuit.
At times, more than half the available tickets were available to American Express cardholders before they went on sale to the general public. This violates New Jersey's anti-scalping law, which prohibits withholding more than 5 percent of an event's tickets from the general public. The lawsuit states that American Express paid CCE "a significant sum" for the arrangement.
"We will not tolerate organizations who withhold ticket sales to the general public," said Reni Erdos, director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, in a statement. "This ticket presale locked out all non-Amex credit-card holders and cash-paying consumers from the initial sale of tickets to the events."
Also named in the lawsuit are GSAC Partners Inc., which operates and manages PNC Bank Arts Center, and parent company SFX Entertainment Inc. d/b/a Clear Channel and partners face a $10,000 fine.