South African promotions company Kusasa Entertainment is facing an uncertain future.

The firm has been involved in a series of negative incidents, the most recent which saw Josh Groban postpone his upcoming South African tour by way of a March 10 announcement on his official Web site. Groban cited Kusasa owner Duncan Heafield's failure to "perform his obligations with regard to the tour".

Heafield's company was also responsible for the recent Celine Dion 10-date outing in South Africa, which left a trail of dissatisfied fans. Operational problems meant audiences at Dion's two Cape Town Shows endured lengthy delays in accessing the site at the Vergelegen Wine Estate in Somerset West.

Since news broke of the postponement of Groban's eight-date trek, which was due to begin March 16, a number of suppliers who have worked with Kusasa in the past have made allegations of non-payment of bills dating back more than a year.

Speaking to Billboard.biz, Corlia Brown, owner of Bloemfontein-based Encore Functions and D├ęcor, said her lawyers had today sent a letter to Kusasa requesting payment on an outstanding bill of R39,990.82 ($5,037) for services rendered during Westlife's March 7, 2007 show in the Free State city. "I am a small business and I cannot carry Duncan anymore," she said, adding that she is owed "a significant amount of money."

Heafield could not be reached for comment.

Brown's claim is not the only one Kusasa is facing. In recent weeks, the promoter settled a claim from Shoglo Management Services, whose executive ranks include director Hazel Feldman, a veteran promoter. Shoglo launched urgent proceedings in the Pretoria High Court late February to liquidate Heafield's company, Kusasa Commodities. In the action, Shoglo claimed the company was unable to pay its debts.

Heafeld warded off the legal action when Ticketconnection -- a company owned by Kusasa -- paid Shoglo R10.9 million ($1.38 millon) from Dion ticket sales.

Rumors surfaced yesterday that Heafield had been arrested in Dubai, where Dion performed on March 5, and that his passport was being retained by authorities until he settled his South African debts. Heafield denied this in an interview with daily newspaper The Times, claiming he was in Johannesburg and dubbing the story "propaganda".

The Groban cancelation is not the first time Kusasa has disappointed South African fans. The company was due to bring Canadian rock act Nickelback to the country in 2006 and again in 2007. The shows have yet to materialize.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print