The San Mateo County Event Center broke a verbal agreement with a home and garden show producer, handing its business to a direct competitor in a lengthy agreement that blocks any other company from staging similar exhibitions for two-thirds of each year through 2017, according to a lawsuit filed this week.
World Class Shows, Inc. claims that, despite a five-year and nine-show producing history with the event center without complaint, the organization breached its contract for upcoming shows and entered into a multi-year arrangement with American Consumer Shows. The agreement not only jeopardizes WCS’s income because about a third comes from the local shows but also prohibits any other home and garden show at the event center within 60 days of the two yearly ACS shows, according to the suit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court.
WCS asks the court to force the event center to honor its agreements along with financial damages for, among other allegations, breach of contract, fraud and unfair practices.
General Manager Chris Carpenter declined comment on the allegations and said neither the event center nor the County Counsel’s Office has yet to be served with the suit.
The San Mateo County Event Center is one of the limited number of venues available for home and garden shows and is considered a primary spot, according to the suit.
According to WCS, the industry procedure for reserving dates requires a promoter to place a hold which is firm unless another challenges the reservation. The person or entity with the hold then has 48 hours to indicate a desire to retain the hold or else it passes to the challenger.
WCS claims on Feb. 9, 2013, it obtained a hold for Feb. 8-10, 2014, and in May secured more holds for the years 2015-2017. However, the suit states, the event center “unilaterally and without notice” canceled the hold and gave the Feb. 7-9, 2014, period to ACS without the chance to retain the hold. The event center also gave the 2015-2017 dates to ACS, the lawsuit states.
The substitution has already created confusion with vendors who had already been lined up, according to WCS’ complaint.
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