Local concert promoters expressed shock at a 203-count indictment against former promoter and nightclub owner Bradley James Nozicka, who is accused of bilking millions out of investors.
“The thing that I find most troubling,” said Rialto Theatre’s general manager Curtis McCrary, who worked with Nozicka’s defunct CAL Productions company, “is that it just gives people trying to work honestly as concert promoters a bad name or bad image.”
Nozicka has booked major acts at several local venues, including Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Snoop Dogg.
Nozicka, 37, was indicted two weeks ago in Maricopa County Superior Court, charged with one count each of illegal control of an enterprise, assisting in a criminal syndicate and money laundering and 40 counts each of fraud, theft, securities fraud, sale of unregistered securities and transactions by unregistered dealers or salesmen.
Also named in the indictment were William James Galyon, 56, of Phoenix; Robert J. Rosepink, 57, of Scottsdale; and Alfred J. Olsen, 67, of Phoenix.
All co-defendants are expected to be arraigned in two weeks, said Andrea M. Esquer, press secretary for Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.
“I have to hold off making any statements until I speak to my lawyers,” Nozicka commented by e-mail.
“It’s a volatile industry,” said James “Tank” Christensen, who worked at CAL Productions and is entertainment and events manager at Casino Del Sol and Casino of the Sun.
Even industry heavyweights such as Clear Channel and Nederlander Concerts go through bad times, Christensen said.
Nozicka and Galyon took investment money for their own use, court records allege.
“It always seemed to be about the image for him – limos, private jets,” said former CAL Productions employee Ryan Trayte.
Trayte said he could see things didn’t seem right when high-dollar shows consistently brought in small audiences.
“It seemed that somehow things were going well, but I couldn’t make sense of how they did it,” Trayte said.
“(Nozicka) did stuff that did not make any sense whatsoever financially,” said former Tucson concert promoter and club owner Mark Oliver.
Oliver remembers offering $100,000 for one concert after considering the local market, the artist’s stature and how past concerts sold.
“Out of left field comes CAL Productions bidding $200,000,” Oliver said. “Then when it kept happening and happening, (another) promoter said, ‘Either he’s laundering money or he’s got some fool giving him money or he’s got an unlimited pot of money.’
“Either way, we knew that we would not be able to compete with against him until he ran out of money, which he eventually did,” Oliver said.
McCrary said he was shocked to learn investors were told they’d get a 20 percent return on their investments.
“That’s absurd,” McCrary said. “Nothing makes that much of a return. To me, that’d be a huge red flag.”