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Multi-million dollar lawsuit filed over canceled Dallas festival alleging fraud

A veteran is suing two people in Dallas County for $5 million after they allegedly took an investment from him for a music festival that never happened.
Credit: AlessandroPhoto / iStock

DALLAS — A lawsuit was filed in Dallas County this week against two individuals who allegedly planned to host a music festival here before it was canceled, making off with $120,000 from the person now suing them.

The suit, filed by San Antonio resident Allen Cox, was filed against Dallas resident James Watson and Pennsylvania resident John Griffin, as well as their Dallas-based company Music Events Productions. Griffin had previously served with Cox in the military, the suit added.

This lawsuit comes weeks after one of the defendants, Watson, was indicted by a grand jury on wire fraud charges related to the Southfork Music Festival, court records show, which this civil suit is also related to. Watson at the time of arrest had been planning to host another music festival in Orlando.

Cox had paid the $120,000 to Watson and MEP as part of the investment into their Southfork Music Festival, a jazz festival planned to be held at Southfork Ranch, to be used for pre-production expenses. The suit states this deal was made at the end of 2019 with the return on investment expected to begin by April 2020.

Sometime thereafter, the suit states Cox was told by Watson and Griffin the festival was to be canceled, and Cox demanded to receive back the funds he invested. That didn’t happen.

“I put my trust in him because of our brotherhood and experience together,” Cox said about Watson at a press conference. “I’ve never experienced anything like this in my entire life.”

Jacob Abrego, one of Cox’s attorneys, said they attempted negotiations with Watson and Griffin but to no avail.

“These guys have no remorse,” Abrego said. “They don’t care that they’ve wrongfully taken from people. They just continue to throw smokescreen after smokescreen just to give you what you want to hear.”

Abrego said the defendants had tried to offer Cox numerous deals, such as artwork, but never cash.

“We wanted the cash back and they never took the steps,” Abrego said. “It’s just complete lies.”

Cox said it feels like everything in his life has been hijacked by this experience.

“My career was put on hold, my personal life,” he said. “He just halted everything in this hurricane of misinformation.”

The charges alleged in the lawsuit include a breach of contract by failure to reimburse Cox, and fraudulent inducement, stating Cox had relied upon Griffin’s word as a friend and former veteran and that Griffin had misrepresented the idea Cox would ever make money on his investment.

Cox’s total losses haven’t been ascertained, the suit states, but he is seeking more than $5 million in monetary relief.

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