WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess) — 5 years after re-opening, the Howard Theatre is facing legal action over claims of unpaid bills.
According to the Washington Post, Maryland-based vendor Belair Produce has launched a lawsuit against the theatre, claiming breach of contract over more than $16,000 in unpaid invoices.
Rob Yealu, the theater’s general manager until he resigned at the end of April, was retained by the venue's operators last year as part of a plan to turn the venue into a profitable venture. However, Yealu told the Washington Post that he encountered numerous problems, including nonpayment of musical acts and a growing stack of unpaid bills that were challenging to overcome.
Yealu also detailed to the Post staffing problems at the venue, noting that many employees he had recruited left their positions at the theater after not being paid.
“It’s because the checks bounced,” he said. “It’s because we didn’t pay vendors. It’s because we didn’t pay talent. It’s because it’s extremely stressful for them to come in,” Yaelu told the post.
Howard Theatre Entertainment’s majority owner, New York-based Blue Note Entertainment Group, did not respond to the Post's requests for comments, however, Steven Bensusan, president of Blue Note, has previously stated that reports of checks bouncing and vendors not being paid were “just not true.”