Sunday, February 20, 2011

TROUBLED TIGER: Hotel, TIF get new partner with chaotic past

Bankruptcies, closures mar record of young concert promoter  

COLUMBIA, 2/20/11  (Beat Byte) --   A stalled $1.8 million tax incentive financing (TIF) package to restore the Tiger Hotel in downtown Columbia may get a boost -- or go bust -- under a new partner with a fascinating yet troubling background that has taken him from England and Canada to Marshall, Missouri -- and now Columbia.

City Council members Monday night will
review an agreement to transfer the TIF to Columbia Hotel Investments, Inc. and its principal -- a twenty-something British-Canadian entertainment promoter named Glyn Laverick (below) with a topsy-turvy track record promoting concerts and restoring old theaters.  

A form of public subsidy, TIF financing uses property taxes to pay for building renovation, putting the money back in a developer's pocket for a period of time rather than out to schools and the community as an incentive to tackle difficult projects.  TIFs are approved by a commission of private and public-service members, from the school board and county assessor to local bankers and builders. 

With the TIF, which was approved in 2009, Mr. Laverick will do "a complete rehabilitation of the Tiger
Hotel," including its
conversion into a "boutique," assistant city manager Tony St. Romaine writes in a staff report on the TIF transfer.    

But similar promises in other cities didn't pan out 

The Regent, The Danforth -- and The Tiger?    

"Glyn Laverick's business motto is simple: 'In chaos, profit,'" reads a June 2006 profile in the Toronto Globe and Mail.   At the time only 24, "the Briton has certainly witnessed his share of chaos in the short time since his company, Ellipsis Leisure Retail, rented and renovated the 90-year-old Danforth Music Hall," a Toronto, Ontario landmark that had fallen into disrepair

With a red-carpet reopening, the Danforth renovation was at first triumphant.   But after Laverick and company weren't able to pay some Can$44,857 in back rent, the theater was shuttered last September.  
Laverick told the Columbia Heart Beat that he was unable to reach agreement about a lease extension and a growing list of maintenance issues with Danforth owner Mike Andrikopoulos.    

"Rather than continue to battle an unwilling landlord, we moved out just prior to the end of our term,"  Laverick said.   "Rather than treat it as such, the landlord made a petty overture to one newspaper which was repeated in two others; the building remains empty."

Press accounts, however, paint a consistently different picture:  Andrikopoulos evicted Laverick over unpaid rent.  And theater patrons expressed displeasure.  Laverick "was a very difficult person to deal with," Susan Baker, executive director of the Riverdale Share Community Association, told the Danforth Village Town Crier.   "We didn’t have a good experience when we were there." 

Regent Redux 

A similar fate met the Regent Theatre in Oshawa, Ontario, a project Laverick tackled in 2008 over initial skepticism after paying $700,000 for it in 2007.  Though details are sketchy, it appears Laverick entered into a contract to buy the building from or with the City of Oshawa.  (Bruce McCorrister photo)

"Standing on the second floor of the Regent Theatre, Glyn Laverick looks like he's peering over the edge of a canyon," the Oshawa-Durham News reported in Sept. 2007, as Laverick complied with a Canadian Ministry of Labor order to complete a hazardous materials survey that temporarily halted construction.   

"We're making a lot of progress," he said.  But the progress eventually turned perilous.    

The Regent Theatre's Facebook page, not updated since 2008, might have been a hint that Laverick's good intentions weren't going well.  "Sources have told the Express that owner Glyn Laverick is in hot water, with debts piling up because of unpaid bills," Oshawa Express reporter Lindsey Cole wrote in Sept. 2009.  "The theatre might be for sale."  

Shortly thereafter, the University of Ontario took over the Regent Theatre.  Mention of Laverick is conspicuously absent from the theatre's new history page.

Intensely critical of Oshawa City Councillor Louise Parkes for reportedly bringing Laverick to that city, Oshawa Central Newspaper City Hall columnist Bill Longworth spoke up in an August 2010 column, saying Laverick's Regent Theatre project "failed miserably."  Laverick is pictured (2nd from right) with Parkes and Oshawa city leaders.

"We sold the property in Oshawa at a profit to the local university after completing a multi-million dollar rehab and attaining a certificate of occupancy from the City," Laverick told the Heart Beat.  

Unfit for Resumption? 

In a strange make-or-break twist, the Regent Theatre did open its doors -- briefly in October 2009, for the first time in 10 months. 

"But the show didn't go on," reported the Durham/Oshawa Region News.   "Mired in controversy since current owner Glyn Laverick took over in 2007,"  the theatre was scheduled to host an international fitness competition that ended with "a tense showdown between Mr. Laverick and show promoter Stephen Mackey." 

Mackey -- president of Neutron Fitness and Sports Organization -- said the Regent was "a total disaster -- garbage and construction debris strewn throughout the entryway, dirt and debris on the stage, drywall dust covering the seats, broken toilets in the washrooms, dirty dishes in the food service area, floors thick with filth, an unusable box office and no heat."

To make the venue presentable, he said his staff cleaned for hours.  "It was embarrassing -- we are known for putting on quality events," Mackey told reporter Jillian Follert. "I have been in this industry for 30 years, and I have never, ever seen anything like this."

When Mackey refused to pay the bill, Laverick evicted his crew.  "He wanted to proceed with the event and when he was pressed for payment, came up with a fictional list of complaints," Laverick said.

"They can't seem to do a simple rental agreement and deliver a clean, usable theatre," said Oshawa Mayor John Gray, who was at the event and called the condition of the Regent "absolutely embarrassing."

"(Laverick) has conducted business like he's always conducted business -- leaving a path of destruction and disappointment," Gray said. "I would have thought he'd have wanted to leave on a high note." 

New Marshall in Town 

What brought Laverick to Marshall, Missouri, where he constructed two outdoor music venues in 2003-04, isn't clear, but his tenure there ended in bankruptcy, cancelled concerts, and angry ticket holders. 

Laverick was booking big names like Vince Gill and Clint Black, the Marshall Democrat reported, but the firm for which he was CEO, Full Circle Leisure, went bust after the cancellation of high-profile Clint Black and Aretha Franklin concerts within months of one another.  

"We don't have the level of local support we had anticipated," Laverick told Democrat reporter Mark Lile.  "Bottom line, if these are concerts people want to see, why not go to them in Marshall?"    

Actively involved in local politics, Laverick solicited help from a Marshall-based fine arts council and lined up a 2003 grand opening concert series with Willie Nelson.   But he said he still didn't feel supported.  "We haven't had the most positive PR in town," Laverick told the Democrat. "But people have got to hang with us.  We want to be part of this community."  

If that was true, Laverick and company had an odd way of showing it.  State Attorney General complaints filed against Full Circle Leisure alleged the company refused to refund cancelled show tickets, leaving angry ticket holders in the lurch just before disconnecting their phones and leaving town. 

"After cancelling concerts from two of the biggest performers in the lineup, soul singer Aretha Franklin and country star Clint Black, concert promoter Full Circle Leisure turned off its phones and closed its offices," the Marshall Democrat reported of Laverick's company, co-managed with another promoter, David Riley.  

"Most ticket holders never obtained refunds for their tickets, which cost up to $100 apiece.  The company later filed bankruptcy and said it lost money on every concert, including performances by Creedance Clearwater Revisted, the Grand Old Opry Roadshow and Bob James with jazz foursome Fourplay."

Laverick at The Regent
It's a Wunderkind Life

Growing up in northeast England, Laverick (left) was only 17 when he started his promoting career, hitting bumps almost instantly.  At the tender age of 19, he reportedly lost 85 thousand British pounds in a dispute with Britain's National Trust that shuttered two concerts scheduled for a publicly-owned manor home called Ormesby Hall.

Eventually moving to "this side of the Atlantic," Laverick "booked everyone from superstars Aretha Franklin and Willie Nelson to smaller indie groups Keane, Soundtrack of Our Lives, and Kings of Leon," which isn't so small anymore, the Globe and Mail reported. 

Laverick has been in Columbia "for several months," said Tiger Hotel co-owner David Baugher.  With partners Al Germond and John Ott, "we have spent the last eight months working with and getting to know him," Baugher told the Columbia Heart Beat.  "We are confident that he has the competence, talent, and resources to succeed in the development of the Tiger Hotel.  Our continued financial involvement is a clear reflection of our confidence in him."


  1. Does this guy have ANY success stories to his credit, or is it one failure after another? Sounds like a promoter scam at every turn so far. I would hate to see Columbia and the Tiger Hotel be his next victim if that is the case.



  3. I too have a long history with Mr. Laverick. Every achievement you can find with his name attached to it has been created with other people's money - and when that money runs out, the debts pile up and bankruptcy ensues. Laverick filed for bankruptcy in Canada just last year - contrary to the stories he has his lawyer tell - and will no doubt create another blight on the financial landscape for Columbia. All the warning signs are there - how long until the public will have to hold the council accountable for pursuing a deal with this idiot?

  4. A person with repeated failures cannot bring hopes in Columbia. To me, he appears to be a conn. Columbia city administartion is surrounded by people who want to extract money from the city sometime in the form of Parking lots or Boutique Hotels (Tiger Hotel). 1.2 million tax incentive to restore this hotel is not a small amount. These people do not have the experiance, expertise and money to do this project. No bank in the right mind would finance this project.

  5. Make no mistake this is a world class con man, he owes huge money to suppliers and landlords. Do not be fooled by his boyish looks, this is from personal experience. If he does change his ways finally it does not erase the past destruction and lies.

  6. Why do scammers get somewhere? 'cuz they are good at appealing to greed & gullibility. One of the photo's show him in the pilot seat of an airplane. They ain't cheap. Whose money is he flying high on?

    1. He left Columbia two months ago and hasn't returned. I've heard that the hotel is a mess.

  7. I need more than the little brief tidbits you keep leaving, anonymous. Go to our new home page and send me a message through there. You can tell me anything you want in strictest confidence (off the record or on background), but you are not giving me enough to go on.

  8. Anyone doing business with Mr. Laverick should be very careful. He caused immense damage to many families while working in Ontario Canada.

    Two music halls run into the ground leaving behind hideous unpaid debts.

    A simple Google search will provide parties investing with Mr. Laverick a look into his recent destructive ventures in Canada.