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SPECIAL EVENT ENTERTAINMENT v. ROCKEFELLER CTR.

September 11, 1978

SPECIAL EVENT ENTERTAINMENT, Plaintiff,
v.
ROCKEFELLER CENTER, INC., Radio City Music Hall Corp., Nelson A. Rockefeller, Urban Development Corporation, Urban Development Corporation-Civic Hall Preservation Project Corp., Robert T. Dormer and Mary Ann Krupsak, Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DUFFY

This is a diversity action brought by plaintiff, Special Event Entertainment (hereinafter referred to as "SEE"), a California corporation, against Rockefeller Center, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as "RCI"), Radio City Music Hall Corp. (hereinafter referred to as "Radio City"), Nelson A. Rockefeller, the Urban Development Corporation (hereinafter referred to as "UDC"), the Urban Development Corp.-Civic Hall Preservation Project Corp. (hereinafter referred to as "CHPPC"), *fn1" Robert T. Dormer *fn2" and Mary Ann Krupsak, Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York, all of whom are New York defendants. SEE alleges that it entered into a contract with RCI to lease the Radio City Music Hall for a one-year period, subject to SEE's option to continue the lease over a longer term. SEE has allegedly developed a closed circuit television distribution system which will broadcast live entertainment from around the world to various theatres in the United States. According to SEE, Radio City Music Hall is "uniquely suited to be an "origination theatre' for live entertainment to be distributed on the SEE Theatre Network." Complaint P 9.

The complaint further alleges that at the behest of Radio City, SEE's executives surveyed the Music Hall to determine its feasibility as an "origination theatre" for the SEE Theatre Network. Thereafter, RCI's president, Alton Marshall, allegedly offered SEE a contract to lease the Music Hall for $ 25,000 per week for one year, with a unilateral option in SEE to continue the lease beyond the original one year period. No written lease was executed, nor was one tendered by RCI to plaintiff although the parties allegedly agreed that a written lease would be prepared immediately with execution to follow at a future date. *fn3"

The complaint further alleges that, on information and belief, RCI, Radio City and Rockefeller (collectively referred to as the Radio City defendants) "entered into a conspiracy later joined by UDC, CHPPC, Dormer and Krupsak (collectively referred to as the State defendants), to eliminate SEE's rights under the contract and to injure SEE in its business and property." Complaint P 26. Allegedly, an additional objective of this conspiracy was to persuade the public that the Music Hall was not economically viable, "thus, clearing the way for RCI's demolition of the Music Hall and the erection of a large office tower which would generate additional profits for RCI and the Rockefeller family." Id. at P 27.

 Although SEE allegedly continued to press RCI for delivery of the written lease, delivery was never effected and RCI remained silent with regard to a public announcement of SEE's lease. In the meantime, RCI had announced the closing of Radio City which evoked considerable public controversy and resulted in efforts, led by defendant Krupsak, to have the Music Hall designated as a landmark.

 The complaint further alleges that in late March or early April of 1978 defendants Krupsak, Dormer, UDC, and CHPPC, with knowledge of RCI's agreement with SEE, approached RCI with an offer to have UDC, through its subsidiary, CHPPC, subsidize the operation of the Music Hall. RCI agreed to this proposal and thereafter advised SEE that its lease would not be forthcoming. As a result of this advice, SEE commenced the instant lawsuit asserting the following seven claims:

 1. That it is entitled to a declaratory judgment that the lease between SEE and RCI is valid and to specific performance thereof;

 2. That UDC and CHPPC acted beyond the scope of their authority and wasted public funds for the benefit of the Rockefeller family. SEE seeks to enjoin the continued performance under the agreement;

 3. That SEE is entitled to damages from the Radio City defendants for breach of the lease;

 4. That SEE is entitled to damages from UDC, CHPPC, Dormer, Krupsak, and Rockefeller for tortious interference with the lease;

 5. That SEE should recover damages from UDC, CHPPC, Dormer and Krupsak for their conspiring with RCI and Radio City to breach the lease;

 6. That SEE relied to its detriment on the promises of RCI and Radio City and expended hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in preparing to take possession of the Music Hall;

 7. SEE further charges all the defendants with Prima facie tort for intentionally conspiring to injure SEE in its business or property without justification.

 Defendants have moved, pursuant to F.R.C.P. 12(b) to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. *fn4" They assert as grounds for their motion that (i) the oral contract which SEE has alleged falls within the statute of frauds; (ii) SEE lacks standing to challenge the expenditure ...


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