February 8, 2019: Tapes Shed Light on Disaster of Planning Trump's Inauguration, AEG Facilities Set to Merge With SMG, How Trump's Election Has Changed Washington Social Life

By Ian Zelaya February 8, 2019, 8:55 AM EST


1. TAPES SHED LIGHT ON DISASTER OF PLANNING TRUMP'S INAUGURATION: It's no secret that the inauguration of Donald Trump has become increasingly scrutinized, now that the $107 million event is being investigated by the Southern District of New York. Now, new taped conversations with event producer Stephanie Winston Wolkoff reveal just how chaotic the planning was, shedding light on her budget concerns and the involvement of inaugural chair Tom Barrack and former campaign aide Rick Gates. Vanity Fair: “For an event producer used to detailed lists and punctilious itemization, Wolkoff was often caught off guard by the ad-hoc nature of the committee. According to the two people familiar with the matter, Gates approached a couple individuals working on the inauguration and asked if they would be willing to be paid directly for their work by a donor, rather than by the inaugural committee. They had received more donations than they’d initially anticipated, Gates told these people. Skirting the usual payment route could allow the inaugural committee to avoid reporting the full amount raised from donors. ... Wolkoff also questioned Gates and Barrack about pricing and budgets across the board, according to the people familiar with the conversations. She started to grow concerned about being left out of meetings, particularly as she raised more red flags. Because part of her responsibilities included reviewing all budgets from her vendors and presenting them to other members of the inaugural committee, she studied the line items in order to be able to explain them. At points, she could not justify the numbers coming in. After circulation of a quote from one of their largest event-production vendors, Hargrove LLC, Wolkoff was shocked that no one in the organization appeared willing to question the figures." https://bit.ly/2BrmnI8

2. AEG FACILITIES SET TO MERGE WITH SMG: AEG Facilities and SMG, two of the largest venue operators in the world, are set to merge to create ASM Global, which will manage more than 300 venues including N.F.L. stadiums such as Soldier Field and N.B.A. arenas. AEG and Onex, the owner of SMG, each will own 50 percent of the company. Billboard: "'This is a merger of complimentary assets, complimentary geography, complimentary resources, and a shared value for the live experience,' AEG Facilities president Bob Newman tells Billboard. Newman will serve as president and C.E.O. of ASM while SMG chief executive Wes Westley joins ASM's board of directors. ... Newman says the merger does not include properties and entertainment districts owned by AEG in Los Angeles, London, Hamburg, and Berlin, or those under development. Instead AEG Facilities' contracts for venue development will make up AEG's main contribution to the merger, while Onex is contributing its entire equity investment in SMG to ASM, with the deal expected to be finalized by the end of the year." https://bit.ly/2DZCgY8

3. HOW TRUMP'S ELECTION HAS CHANGED WASHINGTON SOCIAL LIFE: An election always changes Washington, D.C.'s nightlife scene, and with the election of Donald Trump, this fact has been amplified. Longtime members of the city's social scene now have to consider whether inviting White House administration officials to gatherings goes against their morals and is worth losing other attendees and friends. Esquire: “When other prominent hosts have welcomed senior Trump officials to their table, there has sometimes been a backlash. David Bradley, chairman of Atlantic Media, which co-owns The Atlantic, hosts a steady stream of D. C. soirees for the powerful. He was met with criticism when Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump showed up at a dinner he was hosting during the White House Correspondents’ Association weekend last spring. Bradley believes introducing journalists to politicians and officials is an important part of his job but concedes there is a 'moral dimension' when including 'controversial, even offensive' guests. 'There is a wide spectrum of views in Washington on this issue, especially in this hour,' he told me. 'I am sympathetic to the reasoning on both sides—the purist and the accommodationist. In general, I think humanity would fare better with a larger mix of humility and a sparer dose of righteousness. I think that’s still true in today’s Washington, but it’s a closer call.'" https://bit.ly/2MSFkbe

* LOCAL NEWS *

CHICAGO:  Oxford Hotels & Resorts and its joint venture partner Quadrum Global will rebrand the Essex Inn as the Hotel Essex. The 274-room hotel is undergoing a $75 million renovation and is slated to open in April. The hotel will have a bi-level lounge called SX Sky Bar and a French restaurant called Grant Park Bistro. 

LOS ANGELES:  The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation's fifth anniversary Blue Diamond Gala will take place on June 12 at Dodger Stadium. Bruno Mars will perform.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The annual Congress for I.K.T., the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art, will take place in the U.S. for the first time in Miami April 11-14. The event will include an opening reception at the Wolfsonian–F.I.U. on April 11 and a symposium on April 14 at the Perez Art Museum Miami. 

NEW YORK:  N.Y. Cake’s Love in a Chocolate Box event will take place February 12 at the baking academy and supply’s store Flatiron headquarters. For the event, N.Y. Cake co-founder and co-owner Lisa Mansour has crafted chocolate jewelry boxes containing nine handmade truffles—one box will have a 14 karat heart-shape diamond necklace from Nephora Jewelry as a prize. Consumers can enter a chance to win by purchasing tickets in advance in-store or on the company’s website. 

BAM’s annual gala will take place May 15 at the Brooklyn Expo Center. The event will honor William I. Campbell and Christine Wachter-Campbell, Ethan Hawke, and Walter Mosley. Neneh Cherry will perform. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork

SALT LAKE CITY:  Event marketing platform RainFocus has appointed Michael Olson chief financial officer following a $40 million investment from JMI Equity. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s 15th annual Brewer’s Ball Served Up by Baker Tilly will take place March 2 at the National Building Museum. 

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

BizBash Daily is the must-read digest of event industry news from BizBash.com.

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