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Music Fades for Recipient of $3.8-Million Suit Settlement

January 08, 1987|GREG BRAXTON | Times Staff Writer

Former music promoter Jack Berwick says there is one thing that he won't do with his share of a $3.8-million settlement from Burbank that ended his seven-year legal battle over the staging of rock concerts in that city--go back to concert promotion.

"I'll leave that to the younger people," the 56-year-old Berwick said. "What I'm interested in is maybe getting into movie production."

Berwick, who now owns a poster art and sign business, was measuring his good fortune last week, after the Burbank City Council approved the payment to settle a lawsuit he filed over the promotion of rock concerts at the city-owned Starlight Bowl during the 1970s.

Jury Award of $4.6 Million

Berwick won a $4.6-million judgment in Los Angeles Superior Court in July, 1985, when jurors agreed with his allegation that the city had illegally blocked his attempts to stage concerts by such artists as Jackson Browne and Todd Rundgren. City officials complained that such shows would attract drug users, homosexuals and anti-nuclear demonstrators.

Although the city filed an appeal, officials announced in December that they would drop it to settle the case with Berwick and representatives of his defunct promotion firm, Cinevision.

Berwick said he was "pleased" with the result, but that he has no immediate plans for the money. Some of the money will go to another firm, Wolf / Rissmiller, which helped book the acts, he said.

Other Expenses

Also, "There are several lawyers to pay, and, last but not least, there is the United States government," he said. "So it will be a while before we know how much we have."

But "It's quite a pie," he acknowledged.

Berwick filed suit against Burbank in 1979 for more than $9 million, representing profits he said were lost when the city prevented him from staging the rock concerts and extending his five-year contract. Cinevision in 1975 signed a contract to operate the Starlight, which is now known as the Starlight Amphitheatre.

He said he still regrets not getting an opportunity to stage more concerts at the outdoor theater, which can accommodate 6,000 spectators.

"We put on 12 shows up there, shows like country western, rhythm and blues and jazz shows, and we sold out nine of them," Berwick said. "It's a real shame we were not allowed to continue."

Of his lawsuit, he said, "I'm just a businessman who said, 'I know there is justice here. Let's see if I can get a piece of it.' And I did."

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