Attorney: Musicians likely won’t get paid for failed concert series

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NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) – A bankruptcy trustee is investigating a failed concert series to determine if there are any assets that can be sold to compensate dozens of musicians who were not paid, Call 12 for Action has learned. 

According to a court documents obtained by Call 12 for Action, claims against Newport Contemporary Arts Incorporated add up to $170,207.64. 

The first-ever Newport Contemporary Music Series was supposed to be a premier concert series in the city last summer but most of the concerts were canceled. 

Chris Lefebvre, the attorney representing Newport Contemporary Arts Incorporated and its founder, Paul Van Anglen, said some musicians were paid, but most were not. 

“When the dust settles, there will be no assets that are liquidated,” Lefebvre said. “There will be no payments to creditors, which is an unfortunate, but very typical result in a bankruptcy case.” 

Lefebvre also said Van Anglen is apologetic for the festival flop. 

“Obviously my client put a lot of his heart, soul, time and energy, and if ever there was someone who wanted to make this work, it was my client,” Lefebvre told Call 12 for Action. 

“I think this is a classic example of a well-intentioned project that went sour,” he added. “The backing fell apart. Attendance at the concerts was relatively poor and as a result, the whole business model fell apart.” 

A court document reveals Van Anglen was banking on donations to pay the musicians. 

“The debtor received limited donations, the majority of which were made by Mr. Van Anglen’s father,” it said. 

Documents also show Newport Contemporary Arts Incorporated has a single asset: a checking account with a $0 balance. 

Amy Kempe, a spokesperson for the R.I. Attorney General’s office, said two consumers filed complaints with the agency’s consumer protection unit about tickets to canceled concerts. 

One consumer was fully refunded while the other has not received a refund, according to Kempe. 

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