Portable toilet company files suit against BottleRock

2013-07-08T16:50:00Z 2014-05-01T14:35:19Z Portable toilet company files suit against BottleRockJENNIFER HUFFMAN Napa Valley Register
July 08, 2013 4:50 pm  • 

A second BottleRock vendor has taken legal steps to be compensated for services provided at the financially troubled music festival held in May in Napa.

The company responsible for the portable toilets, luxury restroom trailers, handwashing stations and temporary fencing at BottleRock is suing festival organizers Gabe Meyers, Bob Vogt and BottleRock for $202,000.

United Site Services of California, located in San Jose, filed a lawsuit in Napa Superior Court on Friday, claiming breach of contract by defendants Vogt, Meyers, BR Festivals LLC, BRNV LLC, Willpower Entertainment LLC, Gemini Production Solutions LLC, Kohn Dwight and unnamed defendants referred to as “Does 1-20.”

According to the complaint, United was to be paid “upon being invoiced” after the 2013 BottleRock music festival, which was held on the Expo grounds May 8 to 12.

“Despite numerous requests,” the business has not been paid, said the complaint.

“There is concern about ever getting paid,” attorney Susan Bishop, representing United Site Services, said Monday afternoon. She said her client wanted to file a lawsuit quickly in hopes of being compensated from whatever funds are left from the festival or get higher priority among other potential lawsuits.

“I don’t know if there is any money left,” Bishop said. “If there is, who’s going to get it? It seems to me if they had the money they would have paid everybody.”

According to Bishop, plaintiff Kohn Dwight is affiliated with Gemini Production Solutions. Dwight supposedly brokered the United contract with BottleRock, Bishop said.

The five-day music marathon, held May 8 to 12, became the largest event in Napa history, bringing tens of thousands of music lovers to the Napa Expo. Attendance was estimated to reach more than 120,000. Neighbors and downtown businesses grappled with the influx of visitors, some benefiting more than others. A number of charities were promised a total of up to $1 million in donations.

But two months after the festival’s conclusion, BottleRock organizers have yet to pay 142 union workers $630,000 in wages, a number of other vendors and the designated charities. Bus company Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation filed the first lawsuit against BottleRock on June 17.

In recent weeks, Vogt said he is seeking investors for the festival. BottleRock organizers are also engaged in a financial dispute with Cindy Pawlcyn’s CP Cooks, the group that organized the food and beverage services at the event.

Gemini Production’s Dwight, BottleRock spokesperson Vogt and an attorney for BottleRock could not be immediately reached Tuesday afternoon.

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(30) Comments

  1. je1466
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    je1466 - July 08, 2013 5:21 pm
    Let me guess, you have an angel investor coming over the hill any day. Oh, and besides it's Cindy's fault. Those of us disgusted members of the public keep screaming "Pay your bills!" I've been doing it too, but I think it is a silly thing to say. If they had any money I am sure they would. At this point I think they should just "man up" and admit that they screwed this up across the board. At least have the rocks to admit it. Quit hiding like a bunch of cowards and take some responsibility. Has anyone seen or heard from either of these con artists since this all started going south? The only time either of them has said anything it was to try to pass the blame on to someone else. Own your mistakes boys. You screwed everyone and now you need to be men about it. Quit trying to pass the buck.
  2. JustAnotherManicMonday
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    JustAnotherManicMonday - July 08, 2013 6:29 pm
    And the saga continues...
  3. FAndrews
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    FAndrews - July 08, 2013 7:18 pm
    I'm not surprised that Vogt was not able to be reached, looks like his "house of cards" is crashing down around him. For all you vendors/individuals that have not come forward, now is the time. There are only limited assets and it will be first come, first served. Local 16, get your Union attorneys on this, simply filing a "grievance" is not going to pay the bills or the $630,000 due the stage hands. For those individuals that were not paid, file a claim with the Labor Commission. Vogts been stringing people along with the promise of an investor. Clearly, this has just been a stall tactic and Vogts delusional about BottleRock 2014. It's over Bob, you've disgraced your town and your family and its time for you to face the bitter truth that the rest of us know, start liquidating your assets and pay your bills. Where's all the money you stole from the non-profits. People have been evicted and businesses may close because of your negligence. You have no honor or pride.
  4. Winerymerchant
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    Winerymerchant - July 08, 2013 8:22 pm
    Am I the only one in Napa who is sympathetic to Vogt? Do you have any idea how easy it is to overestimate revenue in these events, especially in light of the fact that most Americans (including Napans) live paycheck to paycheck and are dependant on their employers for income? It's not like any commentators here know what running a business (or a venture) is like. Every business here that is owed money KNEW that they were taking a huge risk with a start up...BottleRock was in Year you have ANY idea how often start ups fail? I didn't think so...I think the commentators here have no clue about the burdens of employing people and the problems that rise when things do not occur as forecasted.

    Let up on them. What would YOU do if you chose to work for a start up that you knew was taking a huge gamble? If we spit on everyone who takes a gamble like Vogt (even when they fail), then no one in America will take risks any more. What if Vogt has wildly succeeded? Then he's a greedy pig?
  5. hyperbole
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    hyperbole - July 08, 2013 8:25 pm
    I haven't sen this mentioned yet. How may people that bought tickets for BR are getting daily spam in their inbox? I've been getting solicitations from wineries, etc that I didn't visit while at the festival even though they were there! It seems that BR sold (?) my email to their associated vendors without my permission.
  6. Napa
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    Napa - July 08, 2013 8:49 pm
    This latest lawsuit seems to be "in the can"...How can Bottle Rock get out of this mess is beyond the human imagination!!!!!
  7. Kwikstep
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    Kwikstep - July 08, 2013 8:52 pm
    There is some humorous irony to this one. They can't even pay for the toilets. Can Bob and Gabe even pay attention?!? I doubt it.
  8. Kwikstep
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    Kwikstep - July 08, 2013 8:54 pm
    Thanks Mr. Vogt.
  9. crooked6pence
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    crooked6pence - July 08, 2013 9:53 pm
    Notice how every person owed money besides the City of Napa and the Expo are out of town businesses? They had this planned since day one! I doubt this is a coincidence.
  10. jenriley2
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    jenriley2 - July 08, 2013 10:30 pm
    You may well be the only one sympathetic to Vogt. If you recall, Bob did an interview with the Sacramento Bee on 3/13/13:

    But when the partners first approached music agents, "the reaction was generally nervous," Vogt said … "A first-year festival comes with a lot of baggage. They would say, 'Then we want this much money.' "
    Vogt and Meyers usually agreed to the band's terms. "There is no doubt we could have driven a harder bargain … (but) we paid the price we felt we could pay to get the people we want to get," Vogt said.

    They admit to poor negotiations. If the industry reaction was 'nervous', why didn't they proceed with caution? Arrogance? Greed?

    Bob and Gabe hired "experts" to advise them. They knew how much money the event would cost. As of today, the event is $2.3 MILLION in arrears. BottleRock may have been a first year venture, but Bob has been a successful business man in Napa for over 30 years. This is pure mismanagement and criminal negligence.
  11. FAndrews
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    FAndrews - July 08, 2013 10:35 pm
    Winerymerchant, I have been in business for over twenty years and during that time, I have always paid my employees and vendors. There have been some lean years, but bills always got paid. Most of us do live paycheck to paycheck which is why it is imperative that employees are paid. BottleRock was not some .com start up looking for venture capitalists. Vogt had contracts with all of the vendors, which is why they are suing him. I'm sure when the contracts were negotiated there was not a clause that said "I'm taking a risk and you might not get paid". To follow your logic we are supposed to applaud Vogt because he took a risk and gamble? Well, the problem is he took a risk and gambled with other people's money, without their knowledge. What about the money for the non-profits, how do you justify that. As far as Vogt being wildly successful-that's a moot point isn't it?
  12. eyeremembertim
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    eyeremembertim - July 08, 2013 10:37 pm
    Kwikstep I agree with you, sort of a dog's philosophy here towards anyone they dealt with... just raise your leg against it and shred any sense of responsibility for what flows. It's all good right? Rock on!! Winemerchant I think your attitude on the other hand is way to generous or even naive. When I was a wine wholesaler, a wine broker actually, I got stung once for a case of Spaghettti Red. Place was bulldozed when I went to collect. Thirty bucks I wanted to laugh. I hope your ethics are better. The sums here are vastly larger and peoples livelihoods and families are threatened. It's a serious black eye for all in our community that sponsored this and a tragedy for those businesses that extended their trust in this event because it was Napa. Does anyone believe this could have been pulled off if it were Fairfield, Suisun City, Lakeport even...? Please take no offence if you live in one of those communities and read this.The purveyors of the ultimate dream have themselves become prey
  13. napa333
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    napa333 - July 08, 2013 10:40 pm
    winerymerchant, are you serious? These vendors and employees did not take a leap of faith like they were investors with the promise of a cut of the profits. They signed contracts with a promise of payment for sevices rendered which need to be honored by these two dead beats. I would sure like to know who you are. With the way you feel about this I can see you walking away from contracts and business deals and not giving it a second thought. You sound as honorable as Vogt and Meyers. The people owed money should have been paid first and then the investors could split what was left, however large or slim it was. Truly disgraceful comment and conduct.
  14. Tom74
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    Tom74 - July 08, 2013 11:56 pm
    Winerymerchant, I would consider your plea for sympathy towards the BR management if the overdue bills were isolated to variable costs. But labor, port-a-poties, etc, etc, are all fixed expenses they knew the amount of at the time they signed contracts for services. If one or two areas had overrun cost estimates, and attendance at the event had been far less than expected, your plea might be rational. But that's not the case. Attendance was at or more than expected. These costs were known well in advance. There is no excuse. +$2.3 million in unpaid bills. Unpaid contracts that are ruining other people's businesses. I have been involved with many large events for a number of organizations. And this notion that you contract for costs far exceeding any rational expectation of revenue - without the reserves on hand to pay your bills - is absurd. It's nothing short of fraud.
  15. tommerle
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    tommerle - July 09, 2013 12:16 am
    I share Winery Merchant perspective on the problem of risk. Which is why it's good business to secure what you estimate you will be owed when dealing with a neophyte or insist on COD.

    Yes, I blame the victims. What were they thinking when they extended so much credit? Couldn't they surmise that the promoters were in over their heads. They were setting themselves up for a sizeable shortfall.

    Major businesses like Bauer and United Site Services should certainly have known better than to open themselves up to so much financial exposure.

    Those employees at the backstag caterer should be damn mad at their boss. He led them down a primrose path..
  16. glenroy
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    glenroy - July 09, 2013 6:39 am
    How do you know money was stolen?
    Has there been any financial data released?
    Has anyone reviewed the contracts to make sure the services were provided as agreed?
    In all fairness….Superman would of had a tough time pulling this one off... not saying money was not stolen but you better be able to prove it.
  17. glenroy
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    glenroy - July 09, 2013 6:48 am seems from the outside looking in that it was all done on the spur of the plan, no guide, no most businesses that failure before they know it.
    Losing money’s a whole lot easier than making it…did anyone even know the breakeven point?....
  18. glenroy
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    glenroy - July 09, 2013 6:50 am
    What type of business was he in or is still in?
  19. glenroy
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    glenroy - July 09, 2013 6:52 am
    LOL...that's the way it goes 333...our government does that to the tax payers everyday, to local businesses everyday...

  20. Kwikstep
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    Kwikstep - July 09, 2013 7:02 am
    Bob Vogt is reported to be a lawyer with 30 years experience. I don't think he has been picked apart in court by a real lawyer yet. That is about to change. He should put his house for sale now. Or maybe flee the country. No one with any semblance of a right frame of mind would anger this many businesses in such an arrogant and public manner. They wanted all the attention and now they have it. Pride goes before the fall.
  21. Punk Rocker
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    Punk Rocker - July 09, 2013 7:15 am
    So here's how things typically work behind the scenes when investors negotiate their deals with guys like Vogt. They ask to get their money back as soon as possible, then have a percent of the profits. In most deals the investors have to wait a very long time to get their money back because start up ventures always have losses up front that prevent the return of investor capital. But Vogt was able to present a virtual "no risk" proposition to his investors because he could promise them the return of their capital BEFORE the event even kicked off. Vogt could see he'd have millions of dollars of advance ticket revenue in his hands way before he ever had to pay many expenses. He could see that he'd be able to pay back investors EVEN IF HE LOST MONEY. He could also see that he could pay himself a lot of money too -- even though BottleRock would go on to lose millions. It is very hard to find examples where investors and promoters are guaranteed profits -- even if the venture fails.
  22. miss_informed
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    miss_informed - July 09, 2013 9:18 am
    @hyperbole - I just was thinking about that yesterday, as it's happened to me. I have no idea whose fault the non-payments are, I went to bottlerock, had a great time, and live next to the fairgrounds and dealt with the noise and people and all of this is/was fine with me......but I'm not cool with getting spammed without my permission.
  23. napa1957
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    napa1957 - July 09, 2013 9:42 am
    I was initially a little saddened that the company I work for was not a vendor for BRNV. The service we provide is widely used by wineries, businesses and non-profits for events large and small. I chatted with our competitors and no-one local seemed to have the account either. Looks like we all dodged a bullet! Thanks local guys for shopping out of town!
  24. FAndrews
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    FAndrews - July 09, 2013 11:18 am
    The vendors had contracts in place to protect their interests in this event. What about the vendors that's were paid and their checks bounced? That is a crime and the amount of the bounced checks puts it in the felony category. As an attorney, Vogt should have known better. There are standard business practices that should have been followed and were not. You know well in advance what your fixed costs will be, or you should. You also know what your labor costs will be, there will be some variable costs, but you allot for that in your budget. The fixed income was from ticket sales and sponsors. When the gates opened, they had those figures. They also knew what security, porta potties, staging, fencing, tents, etc were as they had to order it. So at this juncture to turn this on the vendors is ridiculous. Vogt, et al will have to accept personal responsibility for their actions and criminal negligence. This isn't some yokel, he's an attorney.
  25. Dannsue
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    Dannsue - July 10, 2013 10:50 am
    Since this was a first time venture for the promoters for anything remotely close to this size, why wouldn't the Trustees of the Fairgrounds have not required a bond? Why would the city not have required a bond? I don't know much about how these things go down but it seems like someone in a position of authority would've asked the question about capitalization or posting a bond for God's sake! This will all reflect badly not only on the operators of the Fairgrounds but the City of Napa as well. I don't think anyone in this valley questions Cyndi Pawlcyn's credibility here. Her reputation is well established and I'm quite sure she would'nt have done anything to risk that. She's one of Napa Valley's treasures. She and her company were obviously smart to retain control of the food service revenues. As one of the creditors was quoted recently in the paper, paraphrasing, 'Come to Napa to do business and get screwed'.
  26. ConservativeNapa
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    ConservativeNapa - July 10, 2013 3:26 pm
    I did not attend BottleRock...I do know of 3 dozen or so people that did go. Maybe 5 or 6 of them actually "paid" for their tickets. The rest were freebie's from people connected to Mr Vogt. I can assure you that a few thousand tickets were never paid for at all. I would guess that is a big part of the problem.
  27. FAndrews
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    FAndrews - July 10, 2013 8:18 pm
    According to the 7/2/13 article, the following quote is from Vogt: "these charities are due their money," which was promised by July 1, Vogt said." On the BRNV website $4 from every ticket sale was to go to the Community Partners. A portion of the ticket sales was to be dispersed to the remaining non-profits and charities. Also, there is all of the money from the silent auction and the eBay sales. Where is all of this money? Why has none of it been given to the non-profits? In all of the press leading up to BRNV, Vogt continually boasted how attending BRNV would also support those who need help which is at the core of their values. On their website they even challenged 300 people to go out and raise $1,000, it was called the 300, and some did. So if this "at the core of your values", why haven't you given the non-profits their promised money that was collected by BRNV? But you paid back your investors already. What type of legacy is this?
  28. Punk Rocker
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    Punk Rocker - July 11, 2013 9:16 am
    Investors in virtually all ventures are the ones who's duty it is to be sure everybody gets paid. Only after the obligations have been paid do the investors get their money back (plus whatever profits they have been promised). So, what happened here? Did the investors know they were getting their money back, while over $2millions were not being paid to creditors? If so, then they are equally on the hook as is Vogt. Or did the investors not know about the shortfall? In this case, did Vogt hide it from them? We need some investors to step up and tell their side of the story. Where are they?
  29. FAndrews
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    FAndrews - July 11, 2013 10:23 am
    I'm sure these questions will be answered after interrogatories and depositions are taken. What is also interesting is that in the first law suit has Does 1-50 and the second has Does 1-20. The City and State I'm sure will be deposed to find out how this first time event was allowed to happen without some kind of bonds posted. The lawsuits will be looking for culpability as well as money. So anyone that was involved with BRNV in any kind of production/administrative capacity could be named. There are fifteen (15) people named on the BottleRock vendor feed back form named as contacts for BRNV. I wonder how these supporters of BRNV are going to feel if they end up on the hook for the millions of dollars still outstanding? Also, I'm sure investors and and sponsors
  30. FAndrews
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    FAndrews - July 11, 2013 10:33 am
    (Continued) could be deposed as well. A good attorney is going to leave no rock unturned. So these lawsuits could potentially disrupt the lives of many people. If I were anyone involved with BRNV I would keep all of your emails and text messages from Vogt. At this juncture he is scrambling and based upon what we have seen so far he seems to be pointing fingers at everyone else. He has not taken responsibility for any of this. Something the investors and those involved with the creating of BRNV may want o think about. Prior to BRNV and right after, Bob and Gabe were thick as thieves, where are they now? There are rumors that they've gone their separate ways … so again, I would be putting my ducks in a row if I was tied to BRNV, wouldn't you? Time to stop drinking the koolaid, it's about to get real,
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