Freedom Hill Legal Battles Continue

STERLING HEIGHTS, MI (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Legal bickering between Macomb County and Hillside Productions, the company that runs the Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, has escalated to new heights in the 15-month-long battle over revenues from the concert venue.

The two sides have filed several suits, countersuits and motions, some nearly 200 pages in length throughout the court proceedings, according to the Macomb Daily.

A $250 million lawsuit filed against the county in 2006 claiming that money disputes with Macomb sabotaged a pending management agreement with Palace Sports & Entertainment. The county filed a countersuit a month later claiming that Hillside shorted Macomb County on money from parking, catering services, advertising and ticket sales.

Several court decisions have been handed down in favor of both sides then appealed by the other, dragging the suit out even further, but allowing both Hillside and Macomb County to declare small victories along the way.

The county is confident in its chances of victory, pointing to several revenue figures that are far off the money-sharing contractual obligations included in the venue lease agreement, but Hillside spokesman Hank Riberas claims the county is trying to “spin” the story, and that all figures add up.

“What the county is trying to do is smear by implication. They’re planting in the minds of the media that there’s something sinister going on,” Riberas told the paper.

The case has mirrored this back-and-forth bickering throughout, with court records showing both sides asking federal Judge Robert Cleland to impose sanctions on the other because of claims that the opposition is being uncooperative. Records also show that Hillside has submitted 20,000 pages of documents, with Macomb attorneys claiming 7,000 of those were irrelevant material from previous battles.

Attorneys on both sides are assuming the trial will go forward in October, assuming they can catch up on their required reading by then. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

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