Mount Snow brings suit over festival agreement

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NEWFANE — Alleging breach of contract, Mount Snow is suing a beer company over agreements they made to host festivals together.

In early 2018, the West Dover ski resort came to an agreement with Boston Beer Company and Evil Vixen Promotion Inc. to host a festival that July as part of the Angry Orchard Hard Cider Rock the Roots Music Tour, states a complaint filed by attorney James Valente of Costello, Valente & Gentry of Brattleboro. The concert included performers such as Sublime with Rome, Dirty Heads, Lupe Fiasco, Pepper and Matisyahu.

Valente said Kyle LeTerrier of Boston Beer emailed Tim Dolan, director of marketing at Mount Snow, in April 2018 saying the company wanted tickets to go on sale by April 24. Dolan replied that it was acceptable as long as Boston Beer paid a $50,000 "site fee" to the resort and agreed the resort would receive revenue from food and beverage sales, states the complaint.

Boston Beer was expected to receive "substantial publicity" for the cider from the event and all of the ticket sales revenue, Valente wrote. He said under Dolan's proposal, Boston Beer was responsible for organizing event logistics concerning medical, custodial, parking, security, police, fencing, waste disposal and toilet arrangements.

LeTellier told Dolan "to be completely transparent the site fee has thrown me for a loop," according to the complaint, and a counter proposal from another Mount Snow official was submitted April 14. Valente said LeTellier responded by arguing that Boston Beer had not expected a large site fee and if Boston Beer could get more than 5,000 people to attend the festival, the resort would make the equivalent of the fee in food and beverage revenue.

"In other words, LeTellier was proposing that the site fee be diminished from $50,000 to zero, because Boston Beer would draw a big crowd to Mount Snow," Valente wrote.

LeTellier told Mount Snow his group was "committed to making this work ... by no means do we think we are bringing you a losing proposition ... we just need to understand what your financial needs are so we all can come out ahead," according to the complaint.

Valente said Dolan then proposed a site fee not exceed to $25,000: Boston Beer would receive that much money if 4,000 or less people showed up, $20,000 if 4,001 to 5,999 attended, $15,000 if 6,000 to 6,999 came, $10,000 if 7,000 to 7,999 came, $5,000 if 8,000 to 8,999 came, and nothing if there were 9,000 or more attendees.

"This looks fine," LeTellier wrote, according to the complaint. "We will have a very successful day ... We are confident you will not be disappointed!"

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Valente said relying on Boston Beer's representations, the resort "expended time and money to market and host the event."

The concert ended up having an attendance of between 5,000 and 5,989 people, according to the complaint.

"Considering the low attendance, LeTellier, who was still acting with authority and on behalf of Boston Beer, asked if Mount Snow could waive its $20,000 fee, provided Boston Beer would bring another festival to Mount Snow in 2019," Valente wrote.

The two parties agreed Mount Snow would host two festivals that year, according to the complaint, but Boston Beer later said it would not be bringing the events to the resort.

Mount Snow is seeking a trial by jury. A status conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. Dec. 23 at Windham Superior Court, Civil Division in Newfane.

Boston Beer's attorney Alison J. Bell of Langrock Sperry & Wool in Burlington and Valente have signed a stipulation allowing Bell more time to file a responsive pleading.

A similar case involving Mount Snow went to trial and ended in a favorable verdict for the resort. In 2014, a jury in federal court awarded Mount Snow more than $2.1 million after it sued NBC and Alli, the promoter of the Winter Dew Tour, for not delivering on an agreement.

Jurors decided that NBC and Alli had breached a contract guaranteeing an event at Mount Snow for two years with an option for a third year when they failed to return for the second year in 2011. Instead, the event that includes snowboarding and freestyle skiing contests was hosted by Killington.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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