Scalper Worked With Both Hands, AG Says


KEARNEY, Neb. (CN) - A concert promoter took five busloads full of George Strait fans to the country music star's farewell tour, but didn't bother to buy the tickets so they could see it, Nebraska claims in court.
     Attorney General Jon Bruning sued Creative Community Promotions and its manager, Joel Bieschke, in Buffalo County District Court.
     Bruning claims the defendants sold concert travel packages to the Jan. 17, 2014 concert in Omaha, which was part of Strait's farewell tour. Bruning says the defendants sold 278 concert seat tickets to 118 different customers and took in more than $70,000.
     However, "Throughout the time defendant sold ticket packages, defendant did not actually possess the majority of concert seat tickets she sold to Nebraska consumers as part of the ticket packages," the complaint states.
     Bruning says Bieschke told customers they would get the tickets when they got on the bus, then told them they would get the tickets when they arrived in Omaha.
     Bruning claims Bieschke worked with (nonparty) Chavet Sikes as a ticket broker.
     "Sikes is the natural born son of Bieschke," the complaint states. "He has a lengthy and significant criminal record, which includes multiple convictions for ticket scalping. As well, in 2006, Bieschke filed a police report, claiming Sikes used false pretenses and stole her credit card number and Social Security number.
     "Despite his criminal record and history of deceptive practices, defendant still engaged Sikes as a ticket broker, and, over the period of August 6, 2013, through December 20, 2013, paid him approximately $46,000 for tickets to the concert," the complaint states.
     Bruning says Sikes provided only one-third of the tickets before the concert, and that Bieschke emailed Sikes on Jan. 8, demanding a refund since all of the tickets were not provided.
     "However, defendant did not contact the consumers who purchased ticket packages to tell them that she did not have concert seat tickets, to apprise them of concert seat ticket situation or give them any options to protect themselves, including the options to determine whether said consumers wanted to travel from central Nebraska to Omaha without having concert seat tickets or whether said consumers wanted to purchase concert seat tickets elsewhere," the attorney general says.
     Instead, Bruning says, Bieschke led five buses full of Strait fans from central Nebraska to a concert to which they did not have tickets.
     Once there, Bruning claims, Bieschke negotiated with the venue to try to get some of his customers in as standing room only.
     "Some consumers who attended the concert were unable to actually see George Strait perform from where they were allowed to stand," the complaint states. "A few customers were given seats by other patrons or found empty seats, but the vast majority of the consumers had to stand.
     "Some consumers, however, who were tired of waiting, who were physically unable to stand for the entirety of the concert, or who were unhappy with how defendant had handled the concert seat ticket situation, elected to go instead to their hotel, to a local bar or restaurant or, alternatively, they stood at the concert for a period but then left early. These customers missed all of part of the concert."
     Bruning claims Bieschke failed to provide 180 tickets out of the 278 packages sold and failed to issue a refund.
     The state seeks restitution and civil penalties for failure to provide tickets, misrepresentations, deceptive omission, failure to make consumers whole and deceptive trade.
     Bruning also wants the defendants enjoined from doing it again.