The storming may be over for now, but the activity surrounding Alienstock and the Storm Area 51 phenomenon is far from finished.
Alienstock organizer and Little A’Le’Inn owner Connie West filed a lawsuit against Hidden Sound LLC and its backers — Matthew (Matty) Roberts, Brock Daily, Frank DiMaggio and John Greco — over actions revolving around Alienstock and its origins, documents filed last week in Clark County District Court show.
The lawsuit alleges the defendants breached an agreement with West to help in organizing and financing the Alienstock event Sept. 19-22 in Rachel, wrongfully used the Alienstock name to promote a competing event in downtown Las Vegas and intentionally published false and defamatory statements about West and preparations for her event.
The lawsuit seeks relief in excess of $50,000.
West filed to trademark Alienstock last week, according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records. A Pittsburgh man in August also filed to trademark the name. The matter had yet to be reviewed by the trademark office as of last week.
West alleges she was contacted by Roberts and Daily in late July to work together to organize Alienstock, one of two events spawned by the Storm Area 51 craze Roberts created with a Facebook joke that went viral.
The complaint alleges Roberts’ group agreed to secure sponsorships for the event and agreed to use that money to pay for the celebration, which took place last week. West was pegged with obtaining the permitting and event resources such as security and medical personnel.
West ended up paying for the entire event. Court documents show the Little A’Le’Inn spent or incurred expenses exceeding $109,000, while West spent up to $6,000 of personal money to hold Alienstock on about 30 acres of land in Rachel.
The complaint alleges that on Sept. 2, West paid Roberts and Daily $5,000 from revenue generated from parking reservations for Alienstock. The payment was said to be made in good faith that the two acquired sponsorship money to go toward the event.
The complaint alleges Roberts received $70,000 from adult entertainment site PornHub that was to go toward funding Alienstock. The staff members were going to wear PornHub-branded shirts and have other advertisements for the website at the event, according to the complaint. The documents alleged that Roberts and company kept the money for their personal enrichment.
DiMaggio, who said he is Roberts’ personal manager and partner in Alienstock and the planned tour based around the event, called the lawsuit “frivolous and unfounded” and said the group isn’t worried about the pending litigation.
“We have 100 percent confidence, and she’ll (West) be in for a long, expensive fight that has no merit on her side,” DiMaggio told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We have audio and video proof to challenge her accusations.”
The group’s attorney, Mitchell Bisson of Callister Law Group, said after reviewing West’s claim that they dispute almost everything alleged in the lawsuit.
Bisson also said counterclaims will be filed against West and the Little A’Le’Inn “for their blatant and continued infringement of the Alienstock trademark, as well as the many defamatory statements being made about my clients.”
While West alleges the defendants’ decision to shift participation from Alienstock to the Area 51 Celebration in Las Vegas was a money grab for Hidden Sound, the group said it shifted its focus for safety concerns tied to Alienstock.
“As my clients explained in the lead-up to Connie’s event in Rachel, their No. 1 concern and priority was safety,” Bisson said. “Connie refused to provide any assurances to my clients that the event was being properly planned and target-dates were being met. We see Ms. West’s lawsuit as nothing more than an attempt to sway public perception of the dispute in her favor.”
West couldn’t be reached for comment, and her attorney Joanna Myers declined to comment.