"Bike N’ Roll" concert promoter on the run from law?
Great White was one of the acts promoted to play "Bike N’ Roll"
GR concert promoter likely on the run
Ben Shawa’s business faces bankruptcy
By Henry Erb
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – A Grand Rapids concert promoter is reportedly on the run as of Wednesday, as agents try to arrest him for a parole violation and angry concert investors chase him for their money.
Target 8 has previously reported on Benedict Shawa Jr., who is in trouble again.
The doors of his office, at 212 Grandville Ave., in downtown Grand Rapids, were locked Wednesday. His business, Rivertown Live, faces bankruptcy, according to a man who described himself as a minor stockholder.
Business associates and family members said no one has seen or talked to Shawa since Monday.
Last summer, Shawa promised to provide some revenue from his CountryPalooza concert to keep Grand Rapids’ swimming pools open. And he delivered on that promise, making his concerts seem successful and trouble-free.
But Shawa remains on probation in Michigan from a case in 2004, when he was sentenced to prison in Florida for ripping off concert investors for $100,000. Michigan corrections officials say Shawa violated the terms of his probation when he failed to continue making restitution payments to Florida.
In 2003, Target 8 investigators spoke with Shawa, who was then working as an unlicensed roofing contractor in Grand Rapids. He eventually was convicted of taking money from customers for work he didn’t do. Shawa remains on probation for that, as well.
"It’s a bad deal for everybody right now," said Mike Mouch, who owns the I-96 Speedway, near Lake Odessa.
That’s where a three-day Bike’N’Roll concert was supposed to open Thursday. The failure of that concert started Shawa’s downhill slide this time, as bands such as Great White started canceling and bad-mouthing Rivertown Live LLC for not following through on commitments.
"He never paid the second-round deposits," said Mouch, who said he didn’t know about that until some of his racing customers informed him.
Mouch had advanced Shawa $20,000 to pay the bands, and one of his sponsors provided $46,000, he said.
Mouch told Target 8 he confronted Shawa.
" ‘We can’t make this happen, then we can’t make it happen,’ " he said the conversation went. " ‘I want my money back.’ ‘No problem. I’ll give you a check for your money back.’ "
Mouch showed a copy of Shawa’s check for $20,000, which he said turned out to be no good.
"So, I go Wednesday — no good," Mouch said. "So, Thursday — no good. And then, I had an event over the weekend, so I went back again Monday. Check no good again."
Rivertown Live’s website shows a full summer of concerts already scheduled.
A company shareholder, Steve Brechting, said while Rivertown is going into bankruptcy, he’s trying to get someone else to buy out the company, so those concerts can go on as scheduled.
Brechting said ticketholders for the concerts are protected in any event, because their money is held in escrow, and if shows are canceled, they can get a refund.
The above was taken from a Grand Rapids Michigan based TV website HERE