pe-usher

A concert promoter is being sued after a Michael Jackson tribute concert set for Summerside that was to feature pop performers Usher (pictured), Beyonce and Justin Timberlake failed to take place. ((Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press))

The concert promoter being sued by the city of Summerside, P.E.I., says the city has filed "a meritless, baseless false claim" against her.

Katrina Berg Sussmeier issued the statement in a news release on Friday.

The city paid Sussmeier and her company StarLink Productions $1.3 million for a mega-concert that never materialized.

The lawsuit was filed in a California court on Monday.

The city's statement of claim said Sussmeier's promise of a Michael Jackson tribute concert was little more than an elaborate con game.

"In reality," reads the statement of claim, "the Michael Jackson Tribute Show was, from start to finish, an elaborate fraud."

The statement of claim describes how the city fell completely for Sussmeier's plans.

It said the city wired two payments of $650,000 to the promoter — the first in July 2009, the month after Jackson died, and the other in March 2010. The second payment was sent to the promoter despite growing doubts.

"Summerside officials became increasingly concerned about the status of the concert," says the statement of claim about the months leading up to that final payment.

The concert was to be a kickoff of a world tour, beginning on July 24.

The performers were to include the likes of Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna and Usher.

But the concert never happened.

Friday was the first time Sussmeier had responded to the suit.

In her statement, Sussmeier said, "I am outraged at the city of Summerside for filing a meritless, baseless false claim against me. Contrary to the egregious and outlandish accusations made in this complaint, the real victim here is me."

She went on to say, "This malicious attack is nothing more than a fraudulent attack to destroy my name, my business and reputation … and I welcome the opportunity to expose the facts."

Sussmeier hasn't said when she'll file her formal statement of defence.