COLUMBIA — A judge temporarily halted refunds Friday for a Columbia concert last month where rapper Lil Wayne did not perform after refusing to go through a security check.
The 10-day order issued without a hearing by Circuit Judge Robert Hood stemmed from a lawsuit filed Thursday by Columbia-based promoters of the Fall Ball concert that included performances by Lil Wayne and three other hip-hop artists.
Colonial Life Arena and Ticketmaster offering refunds this week triggered the complaint. The lawsuit also lists Lil Wayne as a defendant under his legal name Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. as well the arena operator, the University of South Carolina.
A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Columbia.
Concert promoters Dennis Taylor and Victory Parnell of All for One Inc. said in their complaint that Colonial Life Arena does not require metal detectors at concerts. Still, concert organizers requested metal detectors at a service entrance for performers, crews and guests.
Colonial Life Arena officials said the day of the show on Sept. 30 they intended for all performers to go through security, the lawsuit said. All for One alleges arena officials required the unusual security checks "because the event involved hip-hop artists and likely would result in a largely minority audience."
Promoters asked Colonial Life officials to allow Lil Wayne to go through security in private because the rapper was "objecting to the indignity of the metal detection process being conducted in public view." An agreement was struck.
"We can even have him come through a separate, private entrance," Lexie Boone, the arena's senior assistant general manager, wrote in an email included in the lawsuit. "Get a quick wand then off to the stage. No one will be anywhere around."
But Boone failed to share the arrangement with colleagues, the lawsuit says.
When Lil Wayne arrived, he was told he would not receive a private security screening. Promoters said they tried to negotiate with arena officials for an hour to let Lil Wayne enter without going through security. Police then offered to escort the rapper to and from the stage, but arena officials refused, the lawsuit said.
Lil Wayne left after an hour. The arena agreed to the police escort after the rapper left.
Colonial Life Arena subsequently announced that refunds would be offered over the objections of promoters. The other artists — 2 Chainz, Tory Lanez and Cardi B — went through security and performed on stage.
The arena and Ticketmaster did not offer refunds after promoters said that Lil Wayne was not the concert headliner. All the performers were headliners, organizers said in a statement on the day after the show. But refunds began two weeks later on Monday.
All for One accused the arena of creating a "firestorm of dissatisfaction and confusion" by misrepresenting the circumstances of why Lil Wayne did not perform.
"Had the university acted reasonably on the night of the show, Lil Wayne would have performed and refunds would not be an issue," said the attorney for the promoters, Joe McCulloch. "The university should be paying those refunds from their own pocket rather than the money earned by the promoters."
Colonial Life Arena officials have insisted on issuing refunds since night of the concert.
"It is unfortunate that the Lil Wayne concert promoters are more concerned about making money than doing the right thing," the arena said in a statement Friday. "They have filed suit and taken legal action to temporarily stop ticket refunds. Colonial Life Arena continues to put the interests of our patrons first and we will continue to push for a fair resolution that includes refunds for those who seek them."