Event promoter ordered to release information
A Minot woman who has announced her intention to run for mayor says she will ask a district judge to reconsider an order requiring her to provide information to the North Dakota attorney general regarding celebrity contracts associated with her promotion of a Christmas show.
On behalf of its consumer protection division, the attorney general’s office brought a civil case against Terpsehore “Tore” Maras-Lindeman Jan. 26. The office sought an injunction against Maras-Lindeman, putting a stop to any efforts related to promoting “A Magic City Christmas” until she complies with requests for information issued on Dec. 4, Dec. 11 and Jan. 4. The Dec. 22 show was canceled by Maras-Lindeman Dec. 11.
North Central District Judge Doug Mattson, who heard the case Feb. 27, ordered Maras-Lindeman to provide information requested by the attorney general within 30 days and prohibited her from engaging in any solicitation or sale of services or merchandise until she complies. Should she fail to comply in 30 days, the court would consider ordering her to pay the attorney general’s costs and court fees. The attorney general’s office had requested reimbursement of its costs.
Mattson wrote that Maras-Lindeman gave numerous reasons why she should not have to comply, “none of which are supported by legal authority and all of which the Court deems unmeritorious.”
“I am very pleased with the outcome,” Maras-Lindeman responded Friday. She said the 30 days allows her time to file a criminal complaint against the attorney general’s office, which will include arguments she plans to submit to the court in seeking reconsideration of the decision. She plans to allege criminal conspiracy, criminal facilitation, perjury and other crimes by the attorney general’s office in its case against her.
Maras-Lindeman argues she is not required to produce information because the attorney general is taking investigative action without a consumer complaint. She said she has asked for a copy of any complaint and has not received it.
“These people have no complaint, and they are wasting our tax money investigating,” Maras-Lindeman told the court in representing herself Feb. 27. “I didn’t want to comply with something I felt was an abuse of office.”
Maras-Lindeman also said she has provided the correct spelling of her name and her address as requested by the attorney general. She said she has agreed to produce celebrity contracts if given assurance by the attorney general that any contracts with confidentiality clauses will be sealed from the open records law. She said she has not received that guarantee.
Maras-Lindeman said her efforts to promote the Christmas event resulted in no financial losses to any individuals or organizations other than herself.
However, the Bank of North Dakota has stated Maras-Lindeman wrongly used its logo to assert sponsorship. Maras-Lindeman removed the logo from her Facebook page, saying it was posted by mistake. The City of Minot objected to use of its city coin image in event promotion. Maras-Lindeman argues she was given the image by a city official and had the right to use it. The city had responded last December by issuing a news release to state it is not a sponsor of A Magic City Christmas.
A Magic City Christmas had been advertised as a charitable fundraiser, with appearances by Chad Prather, a motivational speaker and host of Ride Television Network’s “It’s My Backyard”; Kaya Jones, a singer and former member of The Pussycat Dolls; Corey Feldman, a philanthropist who authored a book on abuse in his childhood; Jason Crabb, a Grammy-winning gospel singer; and Kris “Tanto” Paronto, former U.S. Army Ranger and CIA security contractor who was part of the CIA annex security team during the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and the CIA compound in Benghazi..
A news release for A Magic City Christmas stated the event will be “raising funds for a ‘secret’ project for the people Minot, homeless shelters and other organizations that didn’t qualify for FEMA support due to status when flood of 2011 happened.” The secret project was later disclosed as a memorial monument related to the flood.
Phyllis Burckhard, executive director at Visit Minot, said staff and a board member with the tourism bureau had met a couple of times with Maras-Lindeman and had posted A Magic City Christmas on the community events page. However, there was not enough information available to indicate the event was solid so Visit Minot was cautious about any promotion, she said.
Paronto also was to speak at the Success Depot in downtown Minot.
Although the Success Depot worked only through A Magic City Christmas rather than directly with Paronto, it had been apparent that celebrities were coming based on radio interviews they were giving, said Chris Lindbo with Success Depot.
“It sounded to me like it was going to be a good event for the community,” he said. He said he wasn’t aware of the specifics related to why it was postponed, although he knew the attorney general was involved.
“I was disappointed,” he said. “It was going to be a cool event.”