Lebanon-based The Crystal Group is suing Alpharetta, Ga., company Black Velvet Entertainment and its chief, Franz Florestal, for allegedly claiming to represent Kanye West and others and walking off with substantial cash for fictitious concerts.
The lawsuit, filed April 5 in Fulton County Superior Court, claims the problems began three years ago after TCG was contacted by Black Velvet about booking West for a concert.
Court papers allege Black Velvet reps intended to con TCP from the beginning.
“In February of 2009, BE and Florestal approached TCG and represented it had authority to book Kanye West for a rap concert. Defendants made this representation in bad faith, and they were in no way connected to West and had no authority to represent him.
“Defendants presented Plaintiff with a contract requiring Plaintiff to wire $45,000 to Defendants in order to secure the Kanye West performance. Being ignorant of Defendants intended fraudulent scheme, Plaintiff signed the agreement and wired the funds to Defendants.”
The lawsuit says that when Black Velvet reps allegedly came clean about not representing West, TCG asked for its deposit back. Black Velvet then offered to put the $45,000 toward booking another concert. TCG agreed, and the situation turned into a shell game.
TCG claims it was tricked by Black Velvet into sending $100,000 allegedly to secure a 2010 Timbaland concert. TCG sent the money but again, no concert and its $45,000 deposit wasn’t applied as promised.
Then Black Velvet allegedly offered to put that deposit toward a Flo Rida show providing TCG paid a $10,000 binder to secure the booking. Again, no concert, no refund, court papers say.
“Unbeknownst to Plaintiff, Defendants had made a pattern and practice of defrauding their business partners over the past decade. On information and belief, Defendants frequently devised schemes to obtain monies from purported shows, solicit money from producers and investors, and then simply disappear.”
The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for fraud, conspiracy to defraud, conversion and breach of contract.