Attorney Marc Kasowitz is seeking an injunction on behalf of Woodstock 50 to force the festival's main investor to return $17.8 million it allegedly "misappropriated" from a bank account used by anniversary event organizers.
Officials with Dentsu, a Japanese media company who invested millons into the Aug. 16-18 festival through its holding company Amplifi Live, say the money was originally deposited by Dentsu and argue the company had a right to withdraw its own funds. But Kasowitz, a well-known trial lawyer who has represented President Donald Trump, wants Dentsu to return the money and agree to not disparage the festival or interfere with co-founder Michael Lang's attempts to stage Woodstock 50 at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York.
"Dentsu’s actions have caused a worldwide uproar over its efforts to kill the Festival’s commemoration of one of the most iconic cultural events of the 20th century," Kasowitz wrote in a filing in New York state court.
With just 100 days to go before the scheduled festival was to begin, Kasowitz argues the injuction is needed to save the event before it's too late, writing "notwithstanding Dentsu’s deceitful conduct, W50 fully intends to produce the Festival so it is a great success," adding that "the only true impediments to that success are Dentsu’s ongoing interference with W50’s contractual right to produce the festival, Dentsu’s theft of the festival’s funds, and Dentsu’s active effort to disparage W50 and the festival through lies and mischaracterizations intended to destroy W50’s business relationships."
Last week, a rep for Dentsu announced that it was canceling the festival because organizers with Woodstock 50 had failed to meet certain goals and benchmarks on the festival site allowed in the company's contract. A little more than a month after spending $30 million on artists guarantees for the festival, Dentsu said it triggered a mechanism within its agreement with Woodstock 50 that allowed it to cancel the anniversary event. Billboard has since reported that long-simmering disagreements over festival capacity and logistics created an atmosphere of distrust between Dentsu, Woodstock 50 and producer Rick Farman and his company Superfly.
Kasowitz argued that Dentsu and Woodstock 50's agreement included language saying "Any decision to cancel the festival shall be jointly made in writing by the Parties" and argues the agreement bars Dentsu from withdrawing funds from the festival bank account.
Besides returning the $17.8 million in funding, Kasowitz wants Dentsu officials to agree to "cooperate with W50 in connection with W50’s continued planning of the Festival, including providing reasonable consents and approvals" and "produce all records relating to the removal of funds from the Festival Bank Account" and all "communications between Dentsu and any person or entity involved in the planning or production of the festival."