Ventnor Commissioners to meet in private about cancellation of Latin festival

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VENTNOR – The Board of Commissioners has scheduled a special executive session after its 4 p.m. workshop meeting Thursday, April 10 to review a report by an independent investigator regarding a two-day Latin festival that never happened.

Frank L. Corrado of Barry Corrado & Grassi, PC of Wildwood was hired to investigate the cancellation of Sandstock, a two-day music festival that was to be held at a vacant lot on Wellington Avenue Sept. 21-22, 2013. He was to be paid $135 an hour and recently submitted a bill for $13,783.50, according to city attorney Amy R. Weintraub.

Representatives of Sandstock Inc., the for-profit company putting on the event, thought they were in the clear with city requirements, but learned just two weeks before the event that the Recreation Board denied them a special events permit.

Minutes from its Sept. 10, 2013 meeting show that the recreation board cited concerns about safety issues, the condition of the property and failure of the organization to comply with the city’s nonprofit requirement, and denied issuing the permit.

Attorney Conrad Benedetto, who represents Sandstock, said his clients were surprised to find out the city denied the license at the last minute. He said they are experienced in putting on music events and were seeking a shore location for the event, which would benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy.

“They wanted to hold it in Atlantic City, were denied a permit. They approached Ventnor, and a representative of the mayor’s office welcomed the event and helped us find the site,” he said.

“It was getting late in the season and they couldn’t do it anywhere else, and I doubt my client would have had the funds to do it a third time. They sustained financial damages as a result of canceling the event and lost credibility with their vendors,” he said.

Benedetto said they lost money spent for materials, promotion and ticket sales, and their vendors lost money as well.

“We are working to determine exactly how much, but it is substantial,” he said.

He said his clients fully cooperated with the independent attorney’s investigation.

Weintraub declined to speak about the issue until the commission reviews the report at Thursday’s meeting. The municipality has not received notification that Sandstock intends to sue, she said.

The meeting will be held in the auditorium at the Ventnor Educational Complex, 400 N. Lafayette Ave. Formal action may be taken.

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