Promoter Cries Foul Over ‘Phony’ Concerts

     RICHMOND, Va. (CN) — A Virginia concert promoter claims in court that it was fraudulently induced to invest more than $30,000 in concerts by R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige and Wale that never had any chance of becoming a reality.
     In a complaint filed in Richmond Federal Court, Top Shelf Productions, of Fredericksburg, Va. says defendant Kendra Wilson-Stokes, managing owner of KBW Enterprise, of Pearland, Texas, solicited the company in early 2016 seeking a $20,000 investment in a concert featuring Wale and Jasmine Sullivan.
     KBW told Top Shelf that Wale and Sullivan were already under contract to perform on May 14, 2016, at The Revention Music Center in downtown Houston, Texas, and guaranteed a $36,000 return for the investment, according to the complaint.
     But when Top Shelf checked Live Nation’s website for details, it says, it found no such concert had been scheduled.
     Nonetheless, on March 20, 2016, Top Shelf said it agreed to invest another $10,000 in a Mary J. Blige and R. Kelly concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
     Again, KBW promised that Blige and Kelly were already committed to the event, for which Top Shelf would see $12,500 in profits, and that Top Shelf’s investment, which had been paid by credit card, would be returned within 20 days.
     “However, these opportunities did not exist, were predicated on deceit and misrepresentations, and never came to fruition,” Top Shelf said in its July 14, 2016 complaint.
     Though KBW told Top Shelf that its investment had been refunded — albeit a few days late — Top Shelf says it has yet to receive any of its money back.
     Upon further research, Top Shelf claims, it discovered that Kelly and Blige had not been scheduled to perform together at MGM whatsoever in 2016.
     Top Shelf allegedly exchanged more than 100 texts with Stokes, who continued hawking investment opportunities for events featuring artists Jada Kiss, Erykah Badu and Dave Hollister.
     “Ms. Stokes intended to utilize communication through wire by text messages and electronic email … to defraud [p]laintiff located in the Commonwealth of Virginia out of more than $30,000,” Top Shelf said in their complaint.
     But Top Shelf says it wasn’t the only promoter who had fallen for the Stokes’ scheme.
     In November, 2015, KBW allegedly duped Texas record label EIU Entertainment into financing a bogus concert featuring Tank and K. Michelle, but this time, when KBW failed to uphold its end of the bargain, Stokes used some of Top Shelf’s investments to pay EIU back, according to the complaint.
     Though Stokes lost her home to foreclosure in January, 2015, she continues to advertise KBW’s consumer credit advisement and refinancing services through her personal Facebook page, Top Shelf claims.
     “Ms Stones’ systemic racketeering behavior is engaged in with a similar purpose, result, participants, victims, and methods of commission,” Top Shelf said.
     Stokes confirmed in an interview that she had not, in fact booked any of the events, but said the reason was she had been involved in a car accident; she says she has since contacted Top Shelf to settle the claim.
     “We’re already in the process of settling with them … Everyone will get their initial investments back so nothing will be lost,” Stokes told Courthouse News.
     Stokes said she plans to take out a loan in order to pay back her debts to Top Shelf and other investors.
     “I’m a lot better and getting back to work so I’m grateful for my position, but I am resolving that situation with them so I can let them go about their business,” Stokes said.
     Top Shelf is represented by McClanahan Powers of Vienna, Va.

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