An Anne Arundel County, Md. judge ruled Aug. 25 that R&B singer Ne-Yo has to pay $156,079 to a concert promoter for failing to show up for a performance on New Year’s Eve 2008.
Kenyohn Clark, the promoter, claims that Ne-Yo, who changed his name from Shaffer Smith, and his booking agent, Mike Esterman, who is based in Maryland, didn’t show up for a performance in Washington state after receiving a $95,000 deposit. Clark also said he paid for the singer’s first-class plane tickets and hotel rooms.
Jason Brino, Clark’s attorney, told the AP that Clark eventually became “public enemy No. 1” after the failed concert. The show was to take place at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Wash., a suburb of Seattle. About 1,500 tickets were sold for the event starting at $125 for general admission to $1,275 for the “platinum VIP package.”
Esterman, who runs Esterman Entertainment, describes himself as “agent to the stars.” According to his website, he represents R&B songstresses Mya, Amerie and Kelly Rowland as well as popular rappers LL Cool J, Fabolous and Kid Cudi.
Clark, an Army veteran who booked USO tours while serving, originally sought $500,000 in damages from Ne-Yo and Esterman. However Circuit Court Judge Philip Caroom ordered Esterman and Ne-Yo to pay $131,629 in compensatory damages and another $24,450 in punitive damages.
Ne-Yo was said to be very remorseful according to various media reports as he told Caroom that he knew in his “heart of hearts” that he should’ve returned the deposit.