Andy Faris, the man behind the demise of the Taste of Minnesota festival on Harriet Island, hasn't filed a single court document fighting the involuntary bankruptcy action against his company. He's only got until Monday to do so.
With courts closed tomorrow for the Christmas Eve holiday, it's looking pretty likely that Faris's company will enter bankruptcy by default.[jump]
Faris has been the central character in an ugly public battle over what went wrong with this year's Taste. He's said that he was not the only person to blame, but his former employees disagree.
Taste of Minnesota was a Fourth of July tradition for 28 years, recently on Harriet Island and before that on the Capitol lawn. Modeled after the Taste of Chicago fair, the event historically featured food as the main draw and concerts as the side dish.
In 2009, Faris and his partners--Dan Hare and Terry Moore--formed a company called International Event Management, LLC, and purchased Taste of Minnesota from the prior owners, Capital City Partnership.
That year's festival lost money, so Faris and friends were left paying 2009 bills into this year. That made the event managers, Kevin and Andrea Campbell, very nervous, especially when Faris kept upping the entertainment budget, turning the festival into a major concert with the food as a second attraction. Faris promised to foot the bill and pay everyone, even if things went south.
And go south things did. A combination of too-high ticket prices and bad weather led to poor attendance at the traditionally free event. Then Faris didn't pay approximately $1 million he owed the people he hired to put on the show.
In an October letter, Faris told creditors he "had exhausted all known avenues for a sale of Taste" and still didn't have the money to pay what he owed.
Thirty-seven vendors have filed petitions in federal court to force the organizers into involuntary bankruptcy. Just yesterday, the latest creditor--Wirtz Beverage Minnesota--joined the petition, claiming that Faris and his partners owed $8,400.