SUMMERSIDE – After two years in a San Jose court, the City of Summerside still has no resolution to its lawsuit against a California promoter.
The city has been in a legal tussle with Katrina Sussmeier and her company Starlink Productions Inc., over a failed Michael Jackson Tribute Tour that was supposed to be stage in the summer of 2010.
The city invested $1.3 million in the concert and is now suing to get the money back.
City officials filed suit on Jan. 24, 2011, charging Sussmeier and her production company with fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, negligent misrepresentation and recission (rescinding) of a contract.
Sussmeier, in turn, charged the city with breaching the contract by violating a non-disclosure agreement.
Deputy mayor Bruce MacDougall, chairman of the city’s finance committee, said there has been little movement on the issue over the past several months but that the case is still active.
“Basically, our lawyers are still talking to their lawyers in the states and there have been no new developments,” he said. “We continue to work through the process, the litigation process. We can give you updates as they come along but there haven't been any real solid updates in the last while.”
Legal action comes at a cost. The city began the case over two years ago by appropriating $77,000 for legal expenses. The money was quickly spent.
The finance chairman said he was uncertain as to how much additional money has gone to the California lawyers and added he wants it to stop
“I don’t know what it has been lately,” MacDougall said. “I know we haven’t spent a lot on it. Once we get the litigation thing finished, unless there are any developments come out of that, I’m not throwing any more money at it.”
Acting CAO Gordon MacFarlane did not comment on the costs to date for the city in its suit, but did say the city is moving forward with the two-year-old case.
“We are currently pursuing litigation against parties in California who defrauded the City of Summerside,” MacFarlane said in a written response to questions. “We can confirm that, Ms. Katrina Berg Sussmeier and her company Starlink have filed for bankruptcy in the California court system. The City of Summerside is contesting the discharge of these debts based on our assertion that Ms. Sussmeier and her company committed fraud against the city. As this process is before the courts, we are unable to comment any further at this time. We will provide more information when we are able to comment.”
When contacted on Monday, Sussmeier said she was advised by her legal counsel not to comment on the case at this time.