Three ticket brokers have been sued for allegedly reselling nontransferable Academy Awards tickets for as much as $30,000 a pair, attorneys said March 31.
LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) -- Three ticket brokers have been sued for allegedly reselling nontransferable Academy Awards tickets for as much as $30,000 a pair, attorneys said March 31.
The lawsuit brought by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seeks damages and an injunction preventing the operators of Musical Chairs, VIP Getaways Inc. and Stubhub Inc. from Oscar ticket trafficking, which is expressly prohibited.
"The Academy goes to enormous lengths to try to educate that the tickets are not transferable," said David Quinto, an attorney representing the Academy. "In an era where there are celebrity stalkers and terrorists, the Academy simply can't take a chance that tickets offered for sale won't wind up with someone who wants to do something more than enjoy the ceremony."
The Academy first realized the security risk in 1991 and has been enforcing the prohibition against reselling the tickets ever since. These actions range from warning letters that are sent to virtually all brokers in the Southern California area, including the three defendants, to about 20 lawsuits filed over the past 14 years, said Quinto, who filed the case March 25 in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The enforcement has dramatically reduced the number of instances but not the ticket's value.
According to the lawsuit, an Academy investigator contacted VIP president Craig Banaszewski before the 77th annual Academy Awards show Feb. 27. By that time, Banaszewski said he already had sold four tickets and expected to obtain another 12 pairs, the lawsuit states. The investigator was then urged to buy a pair of tickets for $30,000, with the suggestion that next year they could be going for $30,000 apiece.
The suit accuses Brad Schy of Musical Chairs of selling Oscar tickets for many thousands of dollars.
Stubhub's owners also are accused of selling or transferring the tickets.
An attorney for Musical Chairs declined comment on the lawsuit, and the other defendants could not be reached.
Academy members who are given the tickets run the risk of losing their membership if they sell them, and that has occurred a few times in the past, Quinto said.
The suit separately accuses limousine driver Sharon Oren of selling an Academy Award press badge to an Academy investigator for $500.
Reuters contributed to this report.