Creditors aren’t laughing at insult comic’s bankruptcy filing

Vinnie Favorito is putting you down for Uncle Sam now. But everyone else may be out of luck.

The insult comic will continue to work off a tax debt in his new job at the Westgate Las Vegas, in the tradition of Willie Nelson and other entertainers whose IRS woes made headlines.

But there’s no punch line for the as many as 99 creditors who received notice of Favorito’s bankruptcy filing Sept. 7.

The comedian filed a Chapter 7, claiming he has less than $50,000 in assets and owes $1 million to $10 million (a wide range indeed, but it’s one of the brackets to check on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s filing form).

“The filing stops everything in its tracks, and a discharge would end everything,” says Peter Dubowsky, a Las Vegas attorney who had successfully garnished Favorito’s wages on behalf of his client Ed Bernstein, a high-profile personal injury attorney.

Bernstein was among those who made personal loans to the comedian, who was evicted from the Flamingo last year after a cocktail server complained he was trying to borrow money from patrons and other staffers.

However, Favorito was soon back in business on the Strip and apparently behaving himself. The general manager of Hooters Casino said he was sorry to lose him to Red Mercury Entertainment, the producers who moved him into the cabaret they lease at the Westgate.

It was Red Mercury who paid for the $2,913 bankruptcy filing. A smart investment, Dubowsky says. “For the price of the attorney’s fees, this goes away, which means they don’t have to process any garnishments or deal with his creditors.”

Almost 60 names of creditors to be notified were attached to the filing, ranging from Emmanuel Lewis — yes, the guy who played Webster, based on an address matching Emmanuel Lewis Entertainment Enterprises — to local medical facilities, collection agencies and even Rapid Cash in Wichita, Kansas.

However, none of those notified were asked to prove their claims. “At this point they don’t even care who he owes money to. That’s how bad it is for creditors,” says Dubowsky, who specializes in the collections field.

Unless the bankruptcy court trustee can uncover hidden assets, Favorito will have no one left to answer to except the IRS. “You don’t just file bankruptcy and get rid of the IRS,” Dubowsky says. …

When a rich new investor told her “I don’t do partners,” Nannette Barbera wasn’t exactly crushed.

The producer was happy to concentrate on the content of her new Motown tribute, “Solid Gold Soul,” and let someone else wield the checkbook after her last two Las Vegas ventures closed amid cash-flow issues and disputes with partners and venues.

The 2013 demise of “iCandy The Show” was so devastating that Barbera bid a Facebook goodbye to “50 years of a fabulous career in entertainment.” She says Las Vegas producer John Stuart still owes her $67,000 for that one. And “Celebrity Idols” closed in late 2014 before anyone knew it was open.

But Marc Paskin liked “iCandy,” and it turned out he is a big Motown fan. The colorful California real estate entrepreneur was on the reality shows “Secret Millionaire” and “Uncle Kokua,” advertised for a “Latina girlfriend” on a billboard, and bought a radio station in Colorado to rebrand with a marijuana theme for all the state’s legal stoners.

Paskin and Barbera got their Motown tribute up and running at the Nugget in Sparks for six weeks in the summer of 2015. Vegas was next, Barbera says, until Paskin suffered a paralyzing stroke.

He put all his focus into his recovery (turning the radio station over to iHeart Media) and got back on his feet to walk with a cane. But the show went on hold for a year.

That’s just as well, Barbera says now. The tributes to the likes of Smokey Robinson, the Supremes and the Four Tops opened last week as a tenant in Bally’s Windows Showroom. The 300-seater is “a room that makes sense,” Barbera says. “I want the show to flourish and have some stability and really make a brand.” …

This weekend’s Route 91 Harvest festival brings to mind the like-minded Party for a Cause, which put up three nights of big-name headliners in conjunction with the Academy of Country Music awards last March.

However, the Academy’s longtime president, Bob Romeo, resigned without explanation soon after this year’s awards.

Brian O’Connell, the Live Nation promoter who helms Route 91, also sits on the Academy’s board. “I don’t know what’s going to happen at this point going forward,” he said of Party for a Cause, a benefit for ACM Lifting Lives. The umbrella foundation channels money to several organizations, most of them related to the military and veterans.

Neither the Academy nor MGM Resorts International could confirm this week whether the party will return to festival grounds at Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue. The Academy’s spokeswoman said it will happen somewhere, but officials were still confirming dates, ticket and venue information for both the televised awards and the party.

Time will tell if the Academy will continue to pursue Romeo’s vision of growing the party into “a major festival that can become a big citywide event,” as he noted last year.

Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley and Kenny Chesney headlined last year. They were paid, Romeo said, but a lot of them “cut us some pretty good deals because it’s for charity. Especially for the newer acts, the payment helps to cover the travel out to Las Vegas,” Romeo explained then.

Read more from Mike Weatherford at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com and follow @Mikeweatherford on Twitter.

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