Trade Show Says It Went the Extra Mile

     NEWARK, N.J. (CN) – An “adult themed public tradeshow” claims Secaucus and Hartz Mountain barred it from the Meadowlands Exposition Center and refused to return its deposit, even after it promised to cancel the go-go dancing and wet T-shirt contests, and promised not to serve booze in the Harem Lounge.

     In its federal complaint, Exxxotica New York says it told the town Hartz Mountain, which owns the Meadowlands Expo Center, that its event would involve “adult materials as well as exhibits and demonstrations for a mature audience.” But Secaucus pulled the plug on the show just days before it was set to open, and Hartz won’t return its $32,500 deposit, Exxxotica says.
     Exxxotica claims that in December 2007, Hartz Mountain Development agreed to host the event at the expo, knowing that it would include “alcoholic beverages” consumed in a VIP area containing “dancing poles in a lounge area” called the Harem Lounge.
     But in September 2008, days before the show was to open, Secaucus told Exxxotica that the show was barred “because certain of the exhibitions and activities scheduled to take place at the Tradeshow would be ‘obscene’ and ‘lewd.'”
     The city told it the “planned activities for the Tradeshow would violate Secaucus Municipal Ordinance 42-1 which prohibits ‘go-go dancing’ in certain establishments owned by persons with a retail alcoholic beverage consumption license,” according to the complaint.
     But Exxxotica claims that Hartz and its management company, co-defendant SMG, had approved the content of the show when the lease was signed. It claims Hartz reviewed the company’s “website with show schedules, stage schedules, seminar schedules and numerous actual photos from the Exxxotica Show that had taken place in Miami Beach several months earlier.”
     Despite the fact that Hartz and SMG “consistently and affirmatively represented to plaintiff that the activities scheduled to take place at the Tradeshow were acceptable,” Exxxotica says, Hartz balked under pressure from Secaucus and “threatened to simply terminate the lease.”
     “Hartz sent a letter to plaintiff falsely claiming that Hartz did not know ‘precisely what activities Exxxotica intends to permit,'” Exxxotica says.
     So Exxxotica says it “agreed to ensure that there would not be any go-go dancing or wet T-shirt contests,” and promised that “it would eliminate the proposed ‘Harem Lounge’ area and that absolutely no alcohol would be served on site during the Tradeshow.”
     It says Hartz ignored these assurances and said that it would “not be permitted in the doors of the Expo Center.”
     So, days before the show, Exxxotica says it had to scramble to secure a lease with the Raritan Center in Edison, N.J., resulting in “substantial additional costs and expenses.”
     It claims Hartz ignored its requests to return the security deposit.
     Exxxotica seeks punitive damages for breach of contract, breach of faith, fraud, unjust enrichment and conversion. It sued Secaucus and its top officials for tortious interference, business disparagement and constitutional violations.
     Exxotica is represented by Andrew Friedman with Levine Staller of New York, N.Y.

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