The Philadelphia Orchestra has sued the production company that organized a free concert and Mass when Pope Francis visited Philadelphia last fall, claiming the company stiffed them on a $70,740 bill.
The Philadelphia Orchestra Association filed the breach-of-contract complaint Wednesday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court against ESM Productions for costs stemming from two concerts and two rehearsals during the World Meeting of Families in September 2015, court records show.
The orchestra agreed to waive its usual fees for musicians, conductors, and guest artists for performances on Sept. 26 and 27, and two preceding days of rehearsals, givebacks valued at $667,000, according to the lawsuit, which seeks more than $50,000.
In exchange, ESM managers agreed to cover related costs, such as hall rental, overtime, music rental and arrangements, and cargo movement, the lawsuit states. But the production company then never paid the $70,740 the orchestra billed ESM in December for those things, according to the complaint.
Attorney Claire Blewitt, who represents the orchestra, and ESM didn’t immediately return requests for comment.
The orchestra’s lawsuit wasn’t the first financial flap involving the pope’s visit and 8th annual World Meeting of Families, which drew thousands of faithful Catholics to Philadelphia. City Controller Alan Butkovitz raised a stink in December after the city agreed to absorb $8 million of costs related to the papal visit.