The biggest concert to hit Sudbury, Ont., could be in jeopardy due to a controversy that erupted when councillors let themselves buy tickets to Elton John ahead of the public, local media report.
The pop legend is scheduled to tour North America beginning Feb. 28 with only two Canadian performances, in Sudbury and Kitchener next month. Both Canadian concerts sold out quickly earlier this month, to the disappointment of thousands of fans.
Many were more upset when it was reported by the Sudbury Star that city councillors bought more than 100 tickets before the box office opened to the public — sparking the brouhaha to be dubbed "Ticket Gate." Mayor John Rodriguez bought 10 tickets himself.
After much public outrage, Rodriguez issued a statement about the tickets at the start of a city council meeting last Wednesday evening.
"My decision to offer so many advance purchase tickets to council was rushed and not given sufficient consideration," he said. "For that, I apologize."
The concert should be a "very positive event for our city and our citizens," Rodriguez said. "I deeply regret that this controversy has been such a distraction."
The mea culpa, which didn't come with an offer by councillors to return the purchased tickets, hasn't put the issue to bed. The Star reported late last week that city officials fear the controversy has caused enough concern for the event promoter to possibly cancel the March 2 concert.
Live Nation, John's concert promoter, didn't immediately respond to a phone call and city officials couldn't be reached Monday due to the Ontario statutory holiday.