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FORMER TNA PRODUCTION COMPANY FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST TNA, AROLUXE AND MORE

By Mike Johnson on 2016-10-13 17:38:00

I noted in my earlier stories about the Billy Corgan lawsuit against TNA that I reached out to TNA PR for a comment.  As it turns out, I was told by Eric Barnes, who held the position of Sr. Director Consumer Engagement and Integrated Communications for the company, that he had departed TNA a month ago.  I was told that my request for comment was forwarded onto TNA, however.  PWInsider.com has yet to hear back from the company.

Bobby Lashley will be appearing at Jerry Lawler's Hall of Fame Bar & Grille in Memphis, TN on Wednesday 10/19 at 5 PM Central for a public workout to help promote the Bellator 162 MMA event.

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Also interesting to note that TNA's former production company, Audience of One Productions, LLC in Virginia filed a lawsuit on 9/27 in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia against TNA parent company Impact Ventures LLC, TNA minority owner Aroluxe LLC, TNA Chief Financial Officer Dean Broadhead and Ronald Dean Harris (aka Ron Harris of the Bruise Brothers).

This lawsuit is seeking seeks $223,000 plus interest and post-judgment costs for breach of contract, fraudulent inducement on the behalf of Harris and Broadhead, torturous interference on behalf of Aroluxe and for the defendants violating Virginia code.

The lawsuit states that TNA began conversations with AO1 Productions in 2015 about "a possible long-term, multi-event, production services agreement, pursuant to which AOl would provide a variety of production services for live TNA professional wrestling events, including audio/visual and broadcasting work, lighting, set construction and breakdown, as well as retention and payment of audience "wranglers" (personnel who would patrol the crowd and try to engage audience members with the event), among other things."

The lawsuit states that before and during the negotiations between the two companies, TNA production was overseen by Ron and Don Harris and "Upon information and belief, the Harris Brothers were not providing sufficiently high-quality production work to TNA, despite their industry experience. AOl understood that one of the reasons TNA initially sought a long-term business relationship with AOl was [Dean] Broadhead's dissatisfaction with production services work previously provided by the Harris Brothers."

The two sides began working together specifically on Universal Studios tapings, with the lawsuit alleging that "Broadhead and Ron Harris consistently represented to AOl that these two events were the first of many and that TNA and AOl were on the verge of a long and fruitful relationship."    TNA came to AO1 and hired them to produce the 2015 Bound for Glory PPV, despite the fact that "TNA was apparently in dire financial straits at the time of these negotiations, with reports in the media suggesting that, among other financial woes, TNA was behind on paying some of its key "talent," i.e., wrestling personnel."

After the show, A01 billed TNA for $223,000 for services rendered in October.  The following month, the lawsuit alleges that Broadhead, in an email to A01, stated that TNA was working on finalizing a new TNA deal that would put the company in 80 million homes and stated, "We are planning to go back into Universal Studios in 2016 and get back on the right track with our production. Please, please hang in there with us. We will come out of these difficult times in a much better position as a company and a partner."  A01 alleges this email was sent to prevent them from moving to more aggressive collection attempts on the money owed.

The lawsuit alleges that A01 sent a second invoice, including a 1.5% late fee in November, which led to Ron Harris requesting an itemized invoice before A01 could be paid.  The communications included discussions on a new set design,  A01 alleges in their lawsuit that TNA was having discussions with other vendors at the same time.

In January 2016, A01 reduced the amount TNA owed them by $29,001.57, noting that that amount was removed as Dean Broadhead directly paid some of the independent contractors who had worked on Bound for Glory production, so A01 no longer needed to pay those contractors themselves.  A01 alleges in the lawsuit that TNA made those payments directly to insure that those contractors would continue to work for TNA after TNA cut ties from A01.

The lawsuit also alleges that Broadhead opened into discussions with Jeff Wade, the owner of A01, regarding a payment plan to begin to reimburse A01 for money owed from the Bound for Glory event.   Based on the agreement, the money would be paid in monthly installments starting in March 2016 through August 2016, and that TNA stated they were "on track" to begin to make payments.  However, the lawsuit alleges, "Upon information and belief, TNA's financial troubles had become increasingly severe by this time. Yet, here again, Broadhead, who would have been intimately familiar with those financial troubles, failed to share any relevant information with AOl, which, for its part, continued to negotiate in good faith with TNA and Broadhead over repayment terms for the BFG Event."

The lawsuit claims that in March 2016, "Aroluxe provided some form of financing to TNA which, upon information and belief, was sufficient to allow TNA to continue operating for the foreseeable future. This financing was secured with a lien on all or nearly all of TNA's assets, including, but not limited to, all accounts receivable as well as all fixtures, inventory, and equipment."

The lawsuit then alleges that financing "gave Aroluxe and, by extension, the Harris Brothers, two of Aroluxe's principals, considerable incentive to oversee and coordinate TNA's financial affairs going forward."  on 3/18/16, TNA was to wire the first payment but 12 hours later, Broadhead told A01 that the company could not wire the money.  The money was later received via FedEx.  The lawsuit alleges, "Upon information and belief, this failure to make a timely wire transfer to AOl resulted from intervention by Aroluxe and/or Ron Harris who, at this point, had every incentive to disrupt and delay payments to AOl so that other creditors could be paid sooner."

From that point on, TNA did not respond to invoices regarding money owed to A01, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that as of June 2016, "Aroluxe, through two of its principals, the Harris Brothers, was handling TNA's production efforts and administering its accounts payable, presumably because of the prior infusion of capital by Aroluxe, which was reportedly keeping TNA afloat." 

The suit alleges that Broadhead and Harris were responsible for dragging out payment with false promises of future work as a way to get AO1 to agree to the repayment plan, which TNA did not maintain. 

Court records do not note whether TNA or the other named defendants have responded to the lawsuit as of this writing.

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