Commissioner: Country Music Fest owes sheriff's office $78,000

KEZI 9 News has also learned that some stagehands have not been paid, in addition to numerous vendors.

Posted: Oct. 10, 2018 6:45 PM
Updated: Oct. 10, 2018 7:01 PM

ALBANY, Ore. -- A Linn County commissioner said the Willamette Country Music Festival owes the sheriff's office $78,000 for security services at the popular summertime event. And Roger Nyquist said unless vendors, employees, and other stakeholders are paid in full, the music festival will not be returning to Linn County in 2019.

"Any new application or a continuance of the current permit without these vendors being paid is a non-starter in my book," Nyquist said on Wednesday. "Hopefully the new management makes this right with folks. It's not yet time in my view to declare the sky is falling, but it certainly has my attention and we are concerned."

RELATED:  Country music festival vendors say they haven't been paid

Multiple food vendors have come forward this week to complain about being stiffed by the festival more than seven weeks after the venue closed on Aug. 19.

And it's not just vendors.

KEZI 9 News has learned that some stagehands who worked during the festival haven't been paid either.

Mikaila Waters is one of them.

Waters said she signed up to make a little money and for the adventure of working next to country music stars. She says she hasn't received her final paycheck that she was expecting over a month ago. And that's $900 she was counting on.

"It's completely screwed me," Waters said. "I haven't been able to pay my part of the rent in two months. Now it's taking a toll on my roommate cause now she has to pay my rent and I have a lot of past due bills. I had to take time off of school so I could get another job."

Nyquist says Linn County can't do much to force operators to pay vendors, but the county could pursue legal action to make sure the sheriff's office is paid.

In a previous statement to KEZI 9 News, a spokesperson for Willamette Country Music Concerts said the company is in the process of "assessing" the situation.

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