Off-Ramp

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Infamous "Christmas Carol" Producer Kevin Von Feldt Maims "Mame" in Minnesota

It's really astounding how many people do business without checking references, or at least doing a Google search. A friend just forwarded a link to a story out of Burnsville, Minnesota, dated November 4:

Nearly two years after its grand opening, the $20 million Burnsville Performing Arts Center is hosting its biggest Broadway-style production to date. But "Mame" -- the first of three well-known musicals from troubled producer Kevin Von Feldt -- has run into problems even before its opening Friday night.

Here's what I got by Googling "Kevin Von Feldt."

And this doesn't even include Off-Ramp's inside look at Von Feldt's troubled past almost two years ago.

Clicking just the first item, from the LA Times' Culture Monster, brings up enough red flags to supply all the parking concessions around Staples Center for a year:

As we reported previously, this is not the first time Von Feldt has had problems with "A Christmas Carol."  In 1994, a Los Angeles city prosecutor said she would ask Los Angeles police detectives to investigate advertising claims for a Von Feldt-produced staging of "A Christmas Carol" at Pasadena's Raymond Theatre. Newspaper ads and promotional fliers for the Pasadena run of the touring production said the show would have "narration by John Gielgud," not mentioning that his voice would be recorded. Creditors, including Gielgud, complained of unpaid bills. 

Also in 1994, the Baltimore Sun reported: 

A celebrity cast was to have performed the Charles Dickens Christmas classic this month on the Homewood campus of the Johns Hopkins University. But the university canceled the show after California producer Kevin Von Feldt did not pay the $7,800 auditorium rental fee.

Von Feldt doesn't just do Christmas. He also wanted to build a Vikings stadium for the good people of Minnesota recently:

The other stadium proposal, which was not requested for presentation, was submitted by Kevin Von Feldt, who proposed a similar plan in the city in 2002. Von Feldt's plan calls not only for separate Vikings and Twins stadiums, but a casino, a theme park, a convention facility, eight different types of theaters, four hotels and a wax museum. Von Feldt has a contentious history with the city of Eagan. This is the third time he has proposed his idea for a stadium in Eagan, and things got nasty the last time around. In 2002, Von Feldt threatened to sue the city and then-Mayor Pat Awada in a voice mail, and he accused the mayor of making false statements to members of the Legislature. That led to accusations of extortion from City Attorney Mike Dougherty and a warning for Von Feldt to cease contact with the mayor, council and city staff. Von Feldt's dealings prior to Eagan include him pleading no contest in 1991 to charges of untrue and misleading advertising for a theater series in California that never opened for which people bought tickets. He also served time in a Los Angeles jail on similar charges in connection with a failed airline and movie series in 1987.

Somebody in Burnsville should have coffee with someone in Eagan every once in a while. They're only seven miles apart. 

Back here in LA, I guess Von Feldt does embody the Christmas spirit. For bloggers, he's the gift that keeps on giving.

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