Tix suit settlement nears

A proposed settlement was made public Wednesday to end a class-action lawsuit that accused the largest ticket agencies in California of price-fixing and antitrust violations.

The proposal calls for Ticketmaster and BASS to donate $ 1.5 million to charities, pay $ 750,000 in plaintiff attorneys’ fees and commit to more restricted business practices in the future.

No compensation would go to the supposed millions of buyers since 1986 that have paid “service charges” levied by the pair.

Next, public comment is requested prior to a May 6 hearing on possible ratification.

One plaintiff attorney, Joseph Alioto, sharply criticized the plan. “The proceedings have been in secret, no one has taken any depositions, we never found out how much money was made on ‘service charges,’ and I think that was out of line.” Alioto, the original filer of the suit, says he may pursue a separate settlement.

The majority of plaintiff attorneys, however, are said to favor the plan. They had alleged that since at least 1986, the two powerful ticket agencies had agreed to divide the state at the San Luis Obispo County line. Ticketmaster would sell non-box office tickets south of that marker and BASS would sell them north of it. The result, said the suit, was “artificially inflated” ticket prices.

In the accord, Ticketmaster and BASS admitted to no fault, wrongdoing or liability. They “vigorously deny” all the allegations.

The plan stipulates that no person shall serve simultaneously as a corporate officer and/or director of both ticket agencies.

Per-ticket charges range from a buck or two up to $ 13.50 for a $ 350 Barbra Streisand ticket.

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