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As Roth put it, "Everybody should have gotten paid; a lot of money came in." Considering the venue and the workers and the artists, some back-of-the-envelope arithmetic would still leave plenty of money in profit.
The fallout from EST Fest raises questions that invariably point observers back to a 2012 bar brawl in Pinellas County, Florida — as another legal flashpoint in MGK's career and something of a foreshadowing event several years in the making.
"Just spent my entire night in a fucking Florida jail... shit escalated way too quick last night, it always does with us though," MGK tweeted following the 2012 concert in St. Petersburg, during which, according to police reports, he sliced open a security guard's hand mid-brawl and landed in prison for the night. The security guard, William Long, ended up in a hospital for eight days, enduring two days of surgery and "intense therapy."
Eight months after the fight, as the case made its way to federal court, Long was asking for $15,000. MGK denied the argument for that money. More than two years later, in November 2014, the parties filed a notice with the court that a settlement had been reached.
On Nov. 20, 2014, Long filed a motion with the court, alleging that MGK and his legal team had "falsely, fraudulently, wilfully (sic), and in bad faith" induced him to proceed with a settlement that he "had no intention of honoring in good faith."
Three years after the brawl, it seems that a final settlement was eventually reached. And from this vantage point, it's difficult to separate that Florida court docket from the handling of the Nelson Ledges lawsuit, in which Portage County judge Laurie Pittman has ordered MGK's team to pay $95,034.13 — and ordered so twice.
But the thing that ties the whole story together isn't Livin' Legends' questionable record of media relations or legal battles. This whole time, see, the guys at Livin' Legends and everyone in MGK's camp have just been trying to find the money in the first place. They were fumbling through a bad situation with an apparent ghost who had fled in the night with the cash. More than one year out now, they still don't know where all that money is.
A guy named Leonard Jordan knows.
At the heart of the mystery for the past year has always been the unidentified ticketing agency.
After Scene located a screenshot of a pair of 2014 EST Fest tickets, a quick series of Google searches brought up a company named Here Your Tickets LLC, a Steubenville-based ticketing operation that originally filed for incorporation in Ohio on Sept. 6, 2013.
The sole registered agent is a man named Leonard Jordan, who is also named as the registered agent for the following Ohio entities: Cloud 9Nine LLC, Firecards Print Media Group LLC, The Shirt Off Our Backs Foundation. None of those entities has an online presence outside of state records. But hereyourtickets.com is a functioning website that, based on web archives images, once advertised the 2014 EST Fest.
Public records reveal Jordan has been busy, traversing much of Ohio — and Los Angeles County in California — going back more than 20 years. A paper trail of deception lines Cuyahoga County and Summit County court archives.
In 2004, Jordan stole Charter One Bank checks from a woman named Candice Fitzgerald and "cashed several of the checks at various banks," according to Parma police. Cuyahoga County judge Daniel Gaul gave him five years of probation, which he later terminated after two years.
Prior to that, though, Jordan's local schemes ran the gamut from cocaine possession and trafficking in 1989, stolen vehicle possession in 1991 (an '86 Pontiac), crack cocaine possession and trafficking in 1995, passing bad checks and theft in 1996 and sexual battery in 2010. Anecdotally, Will Roth mentioned in an interview that a Leonard Jordan had stolen his sound equipment one night in Akron some "10 or 15 years ago" and that the M.O. matched up with this guy's rap sheet.
Livin' Legends wouldn't explain to Scene why they chose to do business with Jordan and his fledgling ticketing op. But after scooping egg off the company's face, they tracked him down and, according to Cuyahoga County documents, served a court notice to him on May 26.
Jordan didn't respond to the notice. But the court took action. According to records, Jordan owed $302,905, the sum of the ticket revenue that went through his company.
The straightforward and nearly immediate default judgment awarded a sum of $908,715 to Livin' Legends on July 24. Whether Jordan is located again and whether he pays up remains to be seen.
Whether the trickle-down of payment makes its way to Russell and Walters and everyone else who labored to build EST Fest from scratch is anyone's guess. (Jordan, unsurprisingly in this saga, was not located by Scene for comment for this story. He's suspected to be encamped near his Steubenville homebase.)
According to the grapevine that twists around the Northeast Ohio events staging scene, MGK's people are working out a contract with Nelson Ledges to host "several" future EST Fests or events of similar ilk there. The tickets and the money would be handled internally through Nelson Ledges. No one officially involved with either party could confirm that plan.
But the hope is that money would be recouped and this fiasco can be put to bed. The track record for hope in this story isn't great, though. Victoria continues to advocate for her crew.
In an email from Livin' Legends LLC to Victoria on June 29, 2015, before the Cuyahoga County judgment against Jordan, Don Hill wrote:
"We do not have a definite answer as to when there will be a court ordered judgement but the way it looks, it'll be in our favor. Next thing is to try to recoup monies owed to us. This may be a difficult task but we are continuously working towards the path of assuring you along with others are paid.
"In the mean time we are trying to host small events that'll possibly bring in some revenue. I pray and hope sometime in August we can provide you with some type of monetary dollar value to square up with everyone and get this behind us."
As of press time, Victoria and her crew have not received any type of monetary dollar value.