According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a concert that was scheduled for September 16 at Guaranteed Rate Field has been cancelled. The city-state agency that manages the venue is out more than $1.2 million from the fiasco, and the agency’s chief executive has been suspended.
The Illinois Sports Facilities Authority spent about $1.6 million retaining talent for the concert, including Sean “Diddy” Combs through East Coast concert promoters Mike Daddy Unlimited. IFSA general counsel Maria Saldana says the company promised and fail to sign Diddy to perform at the concert, called “Get In It Musicfest”.
ISFA has hired Mayer Brown LLP law firm to investigate what happened with the promotion company.
“We don’t think the co-promoters lived up to their end of the bargain,” ISFA chairman and lawyer Manny Sanchez said.
The stadium authority hired another company, who succeeded in securing several other acts, but booking delays “impacted ticket sales, ultimately resulting in ISFA deciding to cancel the event,” according to authority general counsel Maria Saldana. The authority have only been able to get back about $350,000 of what they spent in attempts to put on the show.
The Illinois Sports Facilities Authority was created to build and manage the Chicago White Sox stadium, now known as Guaranteed Rate Field. ISFA has a budget of about $60 million a year — most of it coming from Chicago hotel tax revenues. The city and state also each give the agency $5 million a year.
CEO Anthony O’Neill, who signed the deal with Mike Daddy Unlimited, has been put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation “into the circumstances surrounding these events,” Saldana said.
O’Neill, on behalf of ISFA, signed a contract with Mike Daddy Unlimited on May 3 “to act as its exclusive consultant with respect to the procurement and booking of all talent and live entertainment” for the show. MDU was contractually obligated to book Combs and Joseph “Fat Joe” Cartagena as headline acts and would “make best efforts to procure and book other feature performers”.
The stadium authority and the company were each supposed to contribute $650,000 toward the $1.3 million budget for performer fees, but MDU never paid its share or signed Combs or an alternative headliner. They also “failed to provide a full accounting” of what they did with money from the stadium agency. ISFA paid the other $650,000 themselves, which Saldana says was never approved by the board.
The second promotion company hired for Get In It Musicfest, Patriot Artists of New York, cost the authority even more. The company signed deals with Lupe Fiasco, Macklemore and other performers, and collected a 10 percent fee on what was paid to those artists.
However, this final attempt was not enough to save the failing music fest, which was expected to draw 30,000 concert-goers to Guaranteed Rate Field.
“The event was canceled due to slow ticket sales,” Saldana says. “ISFA contributed about $1.6 million toward retaining talent for the concert and has recouped approximately $350,000 to date.”