Insignia Presents received a default judgment for $283,481.97 plus interest in Clark County District Court against The Creative Group on March 19, 2020, citing breach of contract over a high-profile hip-hop show with Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent that was to take place at the Mall of Asia Arena in Philippines sometime in 2019.
Peter Delantar, president of Insignia Presents, an event producer based in the Philippines, alleges that Konstantine Deslis, a Las Vegas talent buyer, repeatedly promised to refund deposit monies for the Snoop Dogg – 50 Cent show when a mutually agreed-upon date was not reached between the two parties by May 31, 2019.
CELEB Magazine Has Seen the Documents
In documents obtained by Celeb Magazine, Deslis sent screenshots of pending wire transfers on August 14, 2019, for $150,000 and August 15, 2019, for $125,000. Delantar, however, says nothing was ever received by the bank. Leading up to that, Delantar sent breach of contract letters to Deslis on both June 10 and July 10, 2019, as well as a demand for payment from his attorney in September 2019. On October 12, Deslis signed a “General and Mutual Release of All Claims” agreeing to a “lump sum return payment of $275,000 … within seven (7) business days.” The money never arrived, so Delantar sued him.
The History Behind the Deal
Delantar and Deslis first met in 2012 when both were working in the marketing department of Las Vegas nightlife company Angel Management Group, now Hakkasan Group. According to Delantar, after he moved back to the Philippines they kept in touch. Delantar was impressed with the hip-hop artists that Deslis was booking as vice president of entertainment of Las Vegas’ Drai’s Beachclub and Nightclub at The Cromwell—The Weeknd, Future, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Big Sean—so he reached out to see who Deslis could get him for Cove Manila, the club inside the casino-resort Okada Manila where Delantar was music director. According to industry sources, in-house talent buyers, as Deslis was for Drai’s at that time, also often work as independent talent buyers outside of Las Vegas’ non-compete radius clauses as a way to parlay their deep connections into a profitable side hustle.
Delantar and Deslis planned to bring rapper Nelly to Cove for a January 12, 2018, show. Deslis was acting in this deal as an agent for his company The Creative Group, not on behalf of Drai’s. A few days prior to the scheduled appearance, Delantar had no rider for the show and no details from Deslis, so he reached out to Nelly’s tour manager to confirm details. It was at that time he found out the touring schedule had changed and Nelly wasn’t going to be in Asia after all. And while the lack of communication from Deslis didn’t sit well with Delantar, the show was rescheduled and Nelly performed on February 17, 2018.
“It was a red flag that he didn’t tell me, but it wasn’t a major,” Delantar says. “Nelly was able to come back, and the rapper issued a public apology via video.” Delantar and Deslis continued to work together, and their next event was for a corporate client featuring Jeremih on June 16, 2018. “That went off without a hitch; we didn’t have any issues,” Delantar says. “A few months passed and I was building my new business, Insignia Presents, and that’s when I reached out to Konstantine again. I wanted to figure out how I could get Snoop and 50 Cent to come for an arena show.”
It Looked To Be Going Smoothly…
It seemed like a win-win since Deslis was booking the artists at Drai’s as well, and the two had even talked about creating a tour routing other acts from Drai’s Dubai.
“We started the conversation in late 2018. He said, ‘Okay, I can get you this show,’ and he asked for the deposit. He sent me the contract on February 18, 2019. I sent the deposit for $275,000 on the 19th.” The final contract was not fully executed on Deslis’ part until April 4, 2019.
The contract, drafted by The Creative Group, provided for a “Mutually Agreeable Date Expiration,” stating if they “do not decide and agree to a mutually agreeable date by or before May 31, 2019, the Purchaser [Delantar] has the right to a full refund of deposit and release of agreement terms. Full refund will be given within 7 business days of written notice, following the expiration date.”
To those not in the entertainment industry, it might sound crazy to send such a large sum of money over a promise to deliver a show without a date, but the nature of international touring schedules can be unpredictable at best—artists cancel, dates get switched and routes change. Talent buyers, bookers and agents attempt to navigate these unpredictable and choppy waters, but sometimes deals just don’t work out. Depending on the contract clauses and the conditions under which these events transpire, funds are returned—or deposits kept—and all parties move on, only to do it all over again. It is the nature of the beast, and that is why all parties agree to terms in writing before money changes hands.
More Red Flags…
Delantar started to get worried that he had not received the fully executed contract back from Deslis until April, and by mid-May there was no confirmed date for the show, no rider and no artist assets available so he could start promoting. Numerous emails, text messages and phone calls were exchanged with potential dates including dropping Snoop Dogg from the deal, but nothing was ever confirmed by Deslis before the May 31, 2019 cut-off. Delantar says he gave him an extra 10 days to deliver before sending him a breach of contract.
“If he couldn’t produce by May 31, 2019, he should have amended the contract and came to me and said, ‘Hey, look, I need more time. Let’s revise, or move the deadline of the contract, so I can keep working on the routing. He never did,’” Delantar says.
In an email dated Jun 10, 2019, Deslis wrote to Delantar he had “been tying up routed details per our conversation in order to make an effort PER YOUR request to save some money on the final cost. There is no breach. The final updated agreement will be issued by 5 p.m. pst tomorrow with the date we discussed.”
But by this point Delantar wanted out of the deal and sent a breach of contract letter to recoup his money, which Deslis began attempting to return.
On July 4, Deslis said that he expected wires for the return of the deposit to post, but because he couldn’t get Delantar on the phone “the initial process was delayed … all international wires on my side take multiple verifications and follow-up when it is a first-time wire, but this is done on my side and now just waiting on the administrative delays that should have been done as of yesterday and today.” The wires never arrived, and it took more than a month of back-and-forth conversations for Deslis to state he was sending them again.
On August 16, 2019, Deslis sent a screenshot confirmation of two wires with the note “your money is submitted; processed and is en route,” saying once again that there could be delays to Asia with new vendors as “banks may over verify prior to releasing, as their protocols are stringent on international wires, especially to Asia/Hong Kong.” Again, the wires never arrived, and Delantar noticed the account number referenced in the correspondence was incorrect. He reached out to Deslis to correct it but did not receive a response. That was the last he heard from Deslis until serving him in September.
Delantar then flew to Las Vegas and was awarded a default judgment against The Creative Group, as neither Deslis nor his legal representation appeared in court.
Celeb Magazine reached out to Deslis for comment, and he issued this statement, in part:
“There is a single active civil dispute between two entities, and counsel has been retained to resolve the dispute. In that matter, Insignia had a contract whereby they engaged the company to provide a service, and upon confirmation of details within the dates and deadlines of the agreement that were successfully met; they then attempted to cancel without cause and therefore breached the agreement with no cause or reason of cancellation. This is our position and the fact of this single issue.
Insignia’s actions are indicative of the risks when dealing with an IN-experienced buyer like Insignia and Peter Delantar; that lack of experience, etiquette, and operate with a poor code of conduct that is without regard to the agreements of which they have committed. Unfortunately their approach of going back on their word has caused a dispute, and this is being resolved currently with counsel, with pending action and motions happening now. As the matter is subject to ongoing, active litigation, we are in the process of seeking relief to set aside a default judgment and defend the rights of the agreement and expect to be victorious. As a standard practice I can not discuss ongoing matters of litigation with anyone, other than say there is a dispute between parties; and we believe we will win in our upcoming efforts with counsel … .”
When Delantar made a public cry for the return of the money on one of Deslis’ Facebook comments, local talent buyer Kalika Moquin shared a similar experience with Delantar, saying she had difficulty getting money back from Deslis for a canceled show with Kappa Sigma fraternity in Arkansas.
“My friend connected me with the Kappa Sigma fraternity in Arkansas, who were throwing a big party and needed some talent booked for it,” she says. “I was looking at Nelly for them, Snoop Dogg, and a couple of different acts. And Deslis just happened to call me on the same day. He mentioned that Rae Sremmurd was looking for some dates. That was actually one of the acts that the fraternity was interested in. ‘It’s your lucky day. Rae Sremmurd’s available. I have him at Drai’s the weekend before. We can route him there, but it’s going to be $110,000, but we’ll do a full concert.’ And these guys had a pretty big budget.”
She went back to her client, who agreed to do it, and they wired Deslis a deposit of $57,500 for an April 13, 2019 show in Arkansas.
In February, reps from Kappa Sigma called and said that Rae Sremmurd had released their upcoming events schedule and had a date booked in Ohio for April 13, 2019. Moquin says that Deslis told her they were getting a private jet from Ohio and going to do both shows—however, the anticipated times for each performance coincided—making it logistically impossible. The Kappa Sigma client demanded another artist immediately, but nothing ever materialized. Instead, the fraternity booked Juicy J with additional out-of-pocket funds and then began requesting their money back from Moquin and Deslis.
The deal was canceled by Kappa Sigma on March 3, 2019 and on March 12, 2019 a wire of $20,000 was returned to Kappa Sigma and cleared the bank. On March 14, 2019, Deslis sent a screenshot of a pending wire to iParty Kalika for $20,000, but it never hit the bank. Deslis eventually did refund the full amount to the fraternity and paid an extra $5,000, even delivering one cash payment to Moquin’s house for $8,000, which she then had to deposit into her client’s account.
“It wasn’t my money that I lost, but I felt so bad for these kids that I was involved with. I’m on him everyday chasing the money. And eventually he starts sending it back, but it’s like $5,000 here or $8,000 there,” she says. “It was months of chasing it.” By April 2019, all the funds were repaid to all parties. According to Moquin, canceled shows are typically either rescheduled or money is refunded within 24 to 48 hours. Other industry sources say it could take from one day to six months depending on the circumstances surrounding the deal.
In response to this claim, Deslis explains that he stepped in to fix another booking that had fallen through and that the matter was resolved in good faith and in a timely fashion.
In the statement Deslis said, “All our agreements are protected by a language requiring nondisclosure of details, as we would never discuss the business details of any client, but this matter was contracted when a third-party contractor solicited the company to fix a show that was in the midst of canceling because of that company’s error. We were brought into a show that had already had multiple issues before our involvement, and when the contractor’s buyer who subbed out the work to us changed their mind and backed out of two deals and canceled, the matter was immediately resolved. Any delay or perceived delay was short and related to the nature of the cancelation and was administrative in nature, and it was resolved in good faith accordingly.”
The statement goes on to clarify that both Delantar and Moquins’ claims are unrelated.
“All of what you have mentioned are independent contractor agreements that have no relation to each other or any other past clients or employment, and inference that they do will be seen as false and defamatory and appropriate action will be taken,” the statement reads.
Delantar says that a big part of the reason why he chose to do business with Deslis was because of the Drai’s connection. “I figured if you have the leverage with Drai’s, it’s like working with AEG and Live Nation, because he booked so much volume in shows, he had a better chance landing a deal and getting a better rate.”
Deslis was an employee of Drai’s from 2014 to 2019. According to an anonymous source who worked with him, there was a constant barrage of miscommunications between Deslis and artist teams stemming from hidden contacts, hidden contracts and hidden emails. Allegedly, Deslis promised villas, private jets, and large sums for meal buyouts without approvals from management, resulting in the nightlife operator having to cover the costs and losses. The source says lack of cohesiveness between the verbal deals and the actual deals led to a stressful and caustic work environment when interacting with Deslis.
Celeb Magazine contacted Drai’s for comment and representatives said via email that, “booking artists to perform is challenging, schedules change, requests change etc. This is regardless of the venue being run by Drais, AEG or Live Nation. A booker sometimes has to deal with agents, manager and lawyers whose who work for the artist and rarely like to tell that artist that they can’t accomplish a request. We often had internal debates about prices and other requests and ‘changes’ to an agreement, however, any change or agreement that was made was always done so with an appropriate contract through the legal representatives; and no matter what issues may arise from any negotiation, we cherish our relationships with the artists and maintain a very good relationship. “Additionally, the statement said “while it is not our policy to elaborate on personnel matters, Konstantine Deslis has not been a Drai’s employee since March 7, 2019.”
In closing, Deslis’ statement reads, “I have been involved in over 5,000 events in the past 2 to 3 years alone, over $50 million in talent buying in a similar time frame, and you have mentioned a single event that has an outstanding issue and is going through the civil process of being resolved. We look forward to resolving this issue and being victorious in our civil efforts to defend Insignia’s breach.”
As of publication, Insignia has not received any legal motions from The Creative Group. However, Celeb Magazine will continue to report this story as it develops.