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VENUE NEWS: Mountain View Files Counter Suit Against Clear Channel, Shoreline (Click on More to view all articles)

(CelebrityAccess News Service) — The city of Mountain View, CA filed a 17-page counter lawsuit against Shoreline Amphitheatre and Bill Graham Presents/Clear Channel Entertainment on October 17 in Santa Clara County Superior Court, alleging that the two entities cheated the city out of at least $2 million over the last three years. — and possibly even more money over an extended period of time.

Shoreline Amphitheatre and CCE sued the city and its independent auditor in July to keep it from reviewing its financial records.

Mountain View's lawsuit alleges that Shoreline and CCE, in order to decrease the rent they owed the city, played around with the accounting of ticket prices and concession sales, among other things, thus providing "inaccurate and fraudulent statements," which resulted in inaccurate amounts owed for rent, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

The city's lawsuit also alleges that CCE and Shoreline violated the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

The suit also claims that the city inappropriately relocated parking lots for Shoreline, which resulted in traffic problems and delays. In 2000, Shoreline stopped charging parking fees at the gates. A $3.75 fee is now tacked onto every ticket, regardless of patrons' mode of transportation to the venue.

The suit alleges this was enacted without the city's consent.

Mountain View receives 7 percent of gross receipts as rent; parking fees are not included. Last year, Shoreline collected $1.6 million from parking, the paper reports, and the city says it is entitled to a percentage of that revenue, which it regards as a price increase. CCE, which keeps the parking fees, disagrees.–Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Salt Lake City's Zephyr Club Moving Around the Corner

(CelebrityAccess News Service) — After 21 years at its 301 West Temple location in Salt Lake City, the Zephyr Club is relocating having lost its lease. The final concert on Halloween night however, had building owners livid.

According to a report on KSL-TV, grafitti and holes in the walls were left behind and the building's owners, Steven Bamberger and David Bernolfo say the place was trashed, so much so that their attorney says he is planning on filing a civil action lawsuit against them.

Tony Rampton, the building owners' attorney, told a KSL-TV reporter, "Maybe he was just angry, but there's no excuse that certainly can't justify what he did. We consider it to be a crime scene at this point."

Rampton said several broken baseball bats were found, "and it appears they had taken the bats against the walls."

Club owner Otto Mileti said, " We didn't really trash the place, it ended up looking trashed because we didn't get any extra time to move out. We basically had between 1:30, 2:00 in the morning 'til 8:00 in the morning to get everything out."

Mileti also told the TV reporter that the landlord, the architect, and the contractor all told him the inside was going to be gutted anyway.

The Zephyr Club plans to move a block away to the Union Electric building at 400 South and West Temple, but it will be several months before it opens.–Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Falcons Scramble to Explain Halftime Show

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — As if they didn't have enough problems, the Atlanta Falcons were scrambling to explain an expletive-laden halftime show.

Rappers Bonecrusher, Youngbloods and Jermaine Dupri performed Sunday during Atlanta's 23-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bonecrusher, a hefty, Atlanta-based artist, has come to prominence this year with the rap hit "Never Scared" in which he muses about shooting someone in the head.

"Let a choppa go PLOOOOOOWWW! to yo melon," the song goes. "Now the plasma is oozin outta yo cerebellum."

Roddy White, the team's director of event marketing and entertainment, conceded Monday there were "some things that happened that shouldn't have happened."

"We had a conversation with them prior to (the show). We said, 'Look, this has got to be appropriate for the audience that's there.' The crowd that comes to a Falcons game is different than a crowd that comes to one of their shows," White said.

Bonecrusher took the stage first, ripping off his shirt during a raucous rap that sounded as though it contained several expletives.

Youngbloods performed next. Dupri, a prominent producer as well as performer, finished the 10-minute performance with his hit song, "Welcome to Atlanta," which is often played by the Falcons during play stoppages.

Dupri could not be reached for comment. His personal assistant did not return two messages left at his Atlanta-based company, So So Def Records.

Dupri has produced hits for Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, TLC and others. In January, he was named a senior vice president of Arista Records, taking with him the So So Def label.

Bonecrusher and Youngbloods both record for Dupri's label.

White insisted that team officials screened the songs and felt they would be appropriate for a diverse crowd that included plenty of children.

"We listened to the tracks beforehand and we didn't see any reason to be alarmed," he said. "When you're in a live situation, like doing live TV, things can happen that are good, bad or indifferent."

White said he wasn't sure if the team had received any complaints about the show. He said it's impossible to come up with entertainment that appeals to everyone in the crowd.

"I'll be honest with you — I didn't hear the profanity that people said was being put out there," White said. "I will say this: Whether you liked it or didn't like it, there were a lot of people in the building that liked the show."

New York University's Side in The Bottom Line Controversy

(CelebrityAccess News Service) — New York University's John Beckman wants people to know the other side of the NYU-Bottom Line controversy. CelebrityAccess presents his note in its entirety:

Dear Bottom Line Supporter,

I think it goes without saying that anyone who would take the time to visit
the Save The Bottom Line Web site to sign a petition is clearly a big fan of
the club and has pretty strong feelings about the situation. But I thought
you might be interested in hearing the other side of the story, so I'm
taking this opportunity to present NYU's perspective to ensure that everyone
is fully informed. I have tried to post this response to the Save The Bottom
Line Web site forum a couple of times this week, but thus far, it seems that
the site's moderator has not seen fit to approve it, thus my direct response
to each of you.

We would all like to see The Bottom Line remain open; that includes NYU. It
is a place of cultural value, and for that reason the University has shown a
lot of patience and urged the club on countless occasions to get its act
together. But it is a sad case: The Bottom Line seems to fritter away every
opportunity to help itself.

The Bottom Line has a rent that is at least 50% below market and is less than half as much as any other University tenant. It started going into
arrears in 2000 (a long time before 9/11, by the way). Despite our urging The Bottom Line to resolve this issue on many occasions, they never did so.
At this point, they have accumulated a rent arrearage of over $185,000, equivalent to nearly a year-and-a-half's back rent, even at their steeply
discounted rental rate. It is a not a question of whether they owe this
money — they have publicly said so to the newspapers — it is simply a
matter of whether they will pay it.

The court case is not an eviction proceeding; it is a non-payment of rent
proceeding, and if they paid off the arrearage, the case would be done with.
We have said this privately, and we have said this in open court. Even after
the patience we have shown and in spite of all of their disappointing record
of being unresponsive, we granted them two court extensions, one in August
and another in September — some 60 days, in all.

The events at the September 24 court date gave us some hope. At that court
date, we had private discussions in the hallway. The Bottom Line said they
had backers; they asked us for another extension, and as part of the
agreement to give them another court extension they proposed a 10-year
lease that included, among other items: market-rate rent, which their
attorney said was $65/sq ft; conduct renovations that their attorney
estimated at $1.5 million (during the course of which we offered three
months free rent); paying off the rent arrearage upon signing of the lease;
a probationary period of one year; "good guy" clauses (a real estate thing);
and the furnishing of a business plan. Let me repeat – this was The Bottom
Line's proposal. This was the most constructive conversation we had had
with The Bottom Line, so we agreed to the extension.

In spite of the Jewish holidays, NYU presented The Bottom Line (based
precisely on terms they proposed to us) within 10 days. We were hopeful
that we might have a good outcome; I'd like to think everyone was.

However, they never signed the lease. In fact, they never got back in touch
with us – never called us, never sought to negotiate. And that's how we
came to be back in court on October 23.

The essence of bad faith is saying something you never mean to live up to,
and that's what The Bottom Line appears to have done here. I have heard
their lawyer say that he's merely trying to "buy time." Given how they have
behaved – saying one thing to us face-to-face in private, then refuting it
in public – there would be plenty of cause for anger, but what we really
feel is sorrow that The Bottom Line has missed another chance to help

For the University, the overall problem with this set of circumstances is
that it forces a not-for-profit educational institution into the position of
subsidizing a for-profit entertainment business; this just turns the world
on its head. It's not proper.

No one has given The Bottom Line more of a break than NYU. The University
has shown The Bottom Line every consideration and lived up to every
commitment it has made; The Bottom Line has done just the reverse. That's
the sad truth.

We're all waiting for the judge's decision at this point. But The Bottom
Line could solve the whole court case now simply by paying the back rent,
and then can ensure their tenancy simply by signing the lease we sent them
based on their set of proposals. We have not withdrawn the lease – it's
still out there for them to sign.

I understand that the people signing the petition would like The Bottom Line
to stay open – we all hope it works out well. I hope everyone will
appreciate hearing the other side of the story.

Thank you,

John Beckman, NYU

–Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

R.I. Club Fire Emergency Tapes Released

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) — Rescue workers arriving at February's deadly nightclub fire met a horrific scene, describing a "stampede" and "people on fire inside," tapes released Thursday show.

"We have multiple people trapped. We're just dragging them out, one by one," one rescue worker says.

"We've got a stampede," says another on the recordings, released by Attorney General Patrick Lynch after a judge ordered that they be made public.

"We need multiple rescues," another says.

The Feb. 20 fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick killed 100 people and injured about 200 others as many concertgoers became trapped when they scrambled for the same exit.

Rescue workers arrived three minutes after they received the alarm, a fire report released Thursday shows. In the initial minutes on scene, the workers called for more help as they realized the extent of the tragedy.

"We are fully engulfed, fully engulfed building. We have people on fire inside," says one man.

Another says, there's "at least 100 inside."

Screams and shouting can be heard in the background of the recordings. Many of the rescue workers do not identify themselves by name as they call in for more assistance. Standard police chatter and codes are used throughout the tapes.

Jody King, whose brother, Tracy, died in the fire, said Thursday it was wrong to have released the tapes and make the rescue workers and public rehash the events of that night.

"I saw the horrible things that those firemen and policemen went through," said King, who happened to arrive to the nightclub as the fire started. "I watched a fireman pull off someone's hand; it came off in his hands."

The 3 1/2 hours of recordings include 277 telephone calls and radio communications made or taken by the West Warwick Police Department's dispatchers.

Among them are conversations between police, firefighters and other emergency workers, as well as media inquiries. They do not include calls made by club patrons or other civilians. By law, 911 calls are not public information in Rhode Island.

The transmissions' release was ordered Wednesday by Kent County Superior Court Judge Mark Pfeiffer. The order came in response to a lawsuit filed in March by The Providence Journal seeking more information about what happened at The Station.

Attorneys for the newspaper and the state had spent months working on an agreement to release documents that would not interfere with a criminal investigation into the blaze, which also injured about 200 people. That agreement was approved Wednesday by the judge's ruling.

"I think it's important The Providence Journal obtain this information," Pfeiffer said.

Messages left Thursday with the West Warwick police and fire chiefs and town manager seeking comment on the release were not immediately returned.

West Warwick Town Solicitor Tim Williamson had objected to releasing the transmissions, saying the information could affect the town's right to a fair trial. The town has been named in several lawsuits.

The Attorney General's Office said eight of the recordings were edited to delete some sensitive information, such as the identification of victims or phone numbers.

A grand jury is investigating the fire, which started when pyrotechnics ignited highly flammable foam that had been placed around the club's stage as soundproofing. Thick smoke quickly spread through the one-story wooden building, trapping patrons as they tried to flee.


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