Harold MacKay says he lived up to the contract he signed with the Halifax Regional Municipality ahead of two money-losing concerts and doesn't owe one cent.
Last year, MacKay's company, Power Promotional Events Inc., was advanced $400,000 from the municipality ahead of two summertime concerts on the Halifax Common.
The two grants of $200,000, routed through a Metro Centre account, were based on ticket sales. Sales fell short, and ultimately the municipality was out about $360,000.
MacKay said he followed the terms of the contract by paying the $40,000 rental fee for the park and repaying $450 based on the formula for ticket sales.
"I lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on those shows myself personally and you know we were out of business on it. But at the end of the day when the company ceased operations it owed the city of Halifax not one penny," he said.
PPE went out of business last fall.
A subsequent investigation determined that the secret deal — done without the knowledge of regional council — violated municipal charter rules.
The municipality's auditor general found that Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly and former chief administrative officer Wayne Anstey risked taxpayers' money and didn't flag concerns because of an overwhelming urge to compete with Moncton for concerts.
MacKay said the revelations were a shock.
"It came as a total surprise to us. We had no idea that any of these policies and regulations weren't being abided by," he said.
He said Anstey and Kelly offered him the money. He said his dealings with them "were always professional."
MacKay's wife is the promoter for the upcoming Metallica show. He said the band was going to cancel because of the bad publicity, but he saved the show by defending the way he did business during his own events.
MacKay said 90,000 people attended his shows since 2008, with about 40 per cent of them coming from outside the Halifax area.
"Is that not good for the economy?" he said.