Saturday, December 16, 2017
Business

Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Club at Treasure Island settle year-long legal battle

A legal showdown between two of Tampa Bay's biggest music promoters has ended in a behind-the-curtains settlement.

Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Club at Treasure Island on Tuesday said they have settled a suit festering more than a year over alleged unfair business practices. Under the agreement, no party admitted any liability. Financial terms were confidential.

"The settlement will facilitate the ability of all parties to continue to bring high quality, live entertainment to the people who live in and visit the Tampa Bay area," the two organizations said in a joint statement. Representatives of both the Club at Treasure Island and Ruth Eckerd Hall declined further comment.

St. Petersburg businessman Bill Edwards, who owns the Club at Treasure Island and manages the Mahaffey Theater, had accused Ruth Eckerd staffers of "bullying tactics" and speaking disparagingly about him and his club to two performers: comedian Louie Anderson and actor and singer Danny Aiello. He alleged Ruth Eckerd "strong-armed" them into backing out of shows scheduled for October and December of this year.

Ruth Eckerd Hall had denied the claims and vowed to defend itself vigorously.

The original suit filed in August 2012 sought more than $2 million in damages. That suit and two other amended complaints were all dismissed by a judge before a third amended complaint was filed in May, leading to settlement talks.

Ruth Eckerd and Edwards' company, Big 3 Entertainment, both were in the running for the contract to manage the Mahaffey. City leaders decided to go with Edwards in April 2011.

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