St. Pete promoter under scrutiny for canceled concerts

A St. Pete promoter with a history of fraud is at the center of the controversy.

Several concerts are canceled in the Bay area. Ticketholders reach out to 10News insisting they’re being refused refunds.

Hard rock band Saving Abel rocked the stage as part of the Make America Rock Again tour in Orlando earlier this month and was scheduled to play in Tampa the next day. Fans showed up at the Cuban Club in Ybor City, but the show did not go on.

Fans and the bands point blame at the promoter, St. Petersburg’s Phoenix Productions. So 10News tracked down promoter Jack Bodziak to uncover why his company has hit a sour note with bands and fans.

“It’s upsetting the fans and breaking everyone's heart,” said ticketholder Matt Florio.

The same thing happened Saturday to Florio and two-dozen friends who turned out to see Enuff Z’Nuff and Tracii Guns, only to discover the concert was canceled.

“Dude, quit messing up our shows!  Just do what you say you're going to do and come through,” said Florio when asked about the controversy.

And Bodziak, as it turns out, actually has a history of trouble in the entertainment industry.

As the former operator of Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg, he served more than a year of prison time for defrauding taxpayers out of $250,000 in sales tax from his concert venue and bars.

Fans tell 10News they've tried to get their money back. Ticketmaster sent this response: “Thanks for reaching out to Ticketmaster! When I received your email, I immediately checked to see if we could honor your request; however,  your order is not eligible for a refund. At present, we do not have any information to indicate this event was postponed or canceled which could result in a refund.  If you will check back later, this information may change and hopefully, we will be able to honor your request. I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.”

“I tried to explain to them, I did everything I could to fight to keep the show,” said Bodziak. “All refunds will be done, I can assure you of that,” Bodziak he assured.

Bodziak blames an investor who he says threatened Bodziak to sign over his company stock. When he refused, Bodziak says they pulled the plug, leading to the cancellations.

Make America Rock sounded off on Facebook about problems with the promoter: “We regret to inform our fans in Tampa that we have been forced to cancel tonight's show based on a breach of contract on the part of the promoter. Last night in Orlando, Artist experienced inhospitable conditions and ended the night without being paid in full for their performances.

"We asked that the contractual agreement be met today prior to the performances and arrived to no cooperation from the promoter. Touring artists work hard just like you and deserve basic hospitable and safe conditions and payment for performances. We apologize to all of the fans who came out to enjoy the show today, and we hope you understand our difficult decision. Please direct all questions and concerns regarding refunds to the promotions company phoenix productions - Jack Bodziak”

10News spoke with Bodziak about the dispute. This is a transcript of that conversation.

“(The performers) were paid,” said Bodziak.

"In full?"

"Yes."

“So you don’t believe you’re a shady promoter who is not paying bands, and leaving fans high and dry?” 

“It really feels terrible, because I'm not shady. I've made my mistakes in the past, but I've also done some really good shows here in Tampa Bay for 21 years.”

After 10News told Bodziak about the hold-ups with refunds, he vowed he set things straight with Ticketmaster.

Phoenix Productions does have other shows scheduled in the next month.

Queensryche is set for December, again at the Cuban Club.  Bodziak vows that it’s a go, but some concert-goers are holding off on shelling out any more money.

“I'm not buying my tickets until I'm standing at the door, and I hear the band tuning up,” says Florio.

(© 2016 WTSP)


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