Ousted Ultra co-founder sues to regain control of music festival

, Daily Business Review


Ultra Music Festival
Ultra Music Festival

A co-founder of the two-weekend Ultra Music Festival in downtown Miami is suing his former partner for more than $33 million, saying he was pushed out of the company that produces the show in a secret shareholder meeting.

The concerts, which showcase electronic dance music and world-renowned DJs and performers, begin today. Last year's event, which was three days instead of six, drew 165,000 people.

The Miami-Dade Circuit Court lawsuit filed by Alejandro "Alex" Omes said he was fraudulently shuffled out as president of Ultra Enterprises Inc. at an August 2010 meeting he was not invited to attend by festival co-founder and partner Russell Faibisch, Faibisch's brother Charles and Adam Russakoff, a new partner installed by the brothers.

Omes, publisher of the dance-music magazine D'VOX, and Russell Faibisch, then 21, produced the first Ultra festival, a one-day show in Miami Beach, in 1999.

Omes' complaint said the two "operated the company on a day-to-day basis as a small shop and rarely observed any corporate formalities" until 2005 when they signed a memorandum of understanding designating the Faibisches and Omes, a former nightclub bouncer, as shareholders. The memo specified "management and operational decision-making authority remain with Alex Omes and Russell Faibisch as presently exist in Ultra."

But five years later after Ultra had become financially successful, the Faibisches and Russakoff voted to kick Omes out, his suit said.

Peter Valori of Damian & Valori in Miami, who represents Ultra, the Faibisches and Russakoff, called Omes' allegations unfounded and filed a motion to dismiss the complaint assigned to Judge John Thornton's complex business division.

A hearing on Omes' request for an injunction is set May 30.

"Mr. Omes' case is a waste of the court's resources," Valori said Thursday.

Omes in his suit also asked to dissolve Ultra Enterprises and form a new company that would once again put him in charge. His attorney, Aaron Resnick of Miami said Faibisch was trying to force Omes to sell his shares.

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