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Celine Dion calls out touring agent in financial dispute

Updated February 15, 2019 - 2:33 pm

Her heart will go on — to a point.

Celine Dion is firing back at what she characterizes as “untruths” in a recent report that she has withheld commissions to her longtime touring agent.

In a story reported exclusively by Billboard magazine and sourcing an internal memo, Dion has been accused of withholding commissions from her concerts in a deal she signed with ICM Partners. The co-head of worldwide concerts for that company, Rob Prinz, has repped Dion for some 30 years, and reportedly signed a new touring deal with the artist in 2017.

The revenue in question would be an undisclosed commission fee on the income from Dion’s 2018 summer tour. That series grossed $56.5 million across 22 shows through Asia and Australia, according to Billboard Boxscore figures. Her multiyear touring and performance deal reached $500 million.

Because of the dispute, ICM Partners announced it is dropping Dion as a partner and threatened litigation to recoup the alleged shortfall.

“Unfortunately, Ms. Dion is refusing to pay the balance of commissions she owes the agency on this historic deal. Please know that we have made every effort to amicably resolve this matter,” the ICM memo reads. “While we continue to admire and respect her extraordinary talent as an artist, regrettably we are left with no choice but to initiate a legal proceeding to secure the compensation we are owed, and as such we will no longer be representing her.”

Dion’s Las Vegas management company, CDA Productions, shot back in a statement posted first on Dion’s Facebook page. Dion’s camp states that she terminated the deal with Prinz on May 7, 2018, not that Prinz resigned. Dion also says that there was no agency agreement in place and “CDA made several multi-million dollar offers during the past year in attempt to arrive at a fair fee, all of which ICM and Mr. Prinz refused.”

Dion added her own, personal statement: “I’m sad and disappointed by this false report that I’m refusing to pay ICM or Rob Prinz. I know that my team has made several very fair and generous offers to them and we really put a lot of effort in trying to work things out.”

Dion’s reps, who did not respond to requests for comment Thursday, say they have no further comment on the matter. In September, she announced she is closing her second run at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on June 8. Her two Las Vegas residencies have grossed more than $630 million over nearly 1,100 shows dating to March 2003. She returns to the stage on Feb. 26.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts.Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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