Desmond 'very happy' with agreement over no-show


MCD PROMOTER Denis Desmond could hardly suppress a grin as he left the High Court yesterday afternoon.

“The cat has chilled,” he said, echoing the now memorable utterance by Prince who advised two booking agents to “tell the cat [Mr Desmond] to chill”.

That was when Prince pulled the plug on his Croke Park concert just two weeks before it was due to go ahead on June 16th, 2008.

Yesterday Prince settled his action with MCD in the High Court. MCD sought €1.7 million in damages as a result of the cancellation. The action was brought against Prince Rogers Nelson, the star’s real name, and William Morris Entertainment Endeavour (WMEE), the agency that acted for him in his dealings with MCD.

WMEE was only added to proceedings because Prince claimed its agents were not authorised to act on his behalf.

The terms of the settlement were not announced in court, but Mr Justice Peter Kelly was told that the dispute between Prince and WMEE had also been resolved.

“Suffice to say we’re not out of pocket,” said Mr Desmond, adding that he was “very happy” with the settlement. The total bill for compensation and legal fees could be about €2 million.

The settlement was announced in court by counsel for MCD Maurice Collins and confirmed by Prince’s counsel Paul Sreenan.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly asked if the word “confirmed” “in Prince speak means the same as it means in English?” Mr Sreenan said it had been confirmed “in a different sense to how it had been confirmed on the previous occasion”. Mr Sreenan was referring to an e-mail sent by Prince’s assistant Ruth Arzate “confirming” that the Dublin concert would be going ahead.

Mr Justice Kelly said he was glad that the parties had reached a settlement and he stood the matter over until March 26th to allow the terms of settlement to be implemented.

Mr Desmond was conciliatory towards Prince after yesterday’s hearing, which lasted less than five minutes. “I think he could do with some good advice. If I was him I’d be looking at getting myself a good manager,” he said.

Mr Desmond said he would “gladly” have Prince back to play in Ireland again. “I think he is a great performer. I’m looking forward to doing some shows with him in the future. I did so in the past.”

Other artists such as Rod Stewart, Celine Dion and Eminem had cancelled on health grounds before, but the circumstances behind Prince’s cancellation were “unique”, he added.

He also expressed satisfaction that the €1.7 million claimed by MCD was not contested when it came to the court case and was not “grossly inflated”, as had been claimed at an earlier hearing.

The court case hinged on a series of e-mails between Prince, his assistant Ms Arzate, WMEE agent Keith Sarkisian and MCD.

The critical e-mail from Ms Arzate in February 2008 stated that “Dublin is confirmed” but the attempts by WMEE and MCD to follow that up with some more European dates foundered as Prince would not commit to them.

Eventually, neither party could persuade Prince to play even a one-off in Croke Park.

News of the settlement came as Prince yesterday released a new song called Cause and Effect, which contains the lyrics, “I am what I am, cause and effect”.