Upcoming Gillette Stadium events, from Bon Jovi to pro soccer, could be in jeopardy if lawyers for The Kraft Group and Foxborough officials fail to strike a deal by July 5 over who should pay liability insurance at the popular venue.
A tense two-hour meeting Thursday night ended in frustration, with both groups agreeing to meet one more time to figure out a solution.
“This is turning into a rodeo,” said Mark Sullivan, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.
The controversy springs from a lawsuit filed against the town last year by ticketholders who said they were wrongly detained by police on alcohol issues at a Bruce Springsteen concert and the New England Country Music Festival.
That suit drew attention to a change in the town’s insurance policy over such lawsuits. Foxborough used to pay a $7,500 deductible for every injured party in a potential claim, according to the insurance policy, but the amount has now been raised to $50,000 a person. Sullivan and other officials said the town cannot be put in such a vulnerable financial and legal position.
A pact is needed for upcoming shows, including the Bon Jovi concert on July 20 at the popular Route 1 venue, along with those headed to hear Taylor Swift on July 26 and 27 and country music start Kenny Chesney on Aug. 23 and 24.
Town officials issued conditional licenses for the events in January but warned the Krafts they had just 30 days to comply with a request for insurance indemnification for the events for the permits to become official. But 30 days came and went, and the time frame was repeatedly extended until the most recent deadline was set.
James Cobery, general counsel for the Krafts, said the situation reached a crisis because the outgoing town manager, Kevin Paicos, was supposed to send a letter of authorization six weeks ago that would allow the organization to research policies on the town’s behalf. “But he never did,” Cobery said.” I received the letter yesterday.”
Several selectmen, including Lorraine Brue, told Cobery it was not fair to throw Paicos “under the bus” when he was not present to explain.
Paicos has not returned to work following a military leave last month.
Agreement seemed close at times Thursday, and officials talked about extending the time frame to work something out through July if Kraft would cover a portion of the $50,000 deductible for the July 6 New England Revolution game, which is the month’s first event, but his lawyers said no.
Lawyers said the town could pull its police from the game and let Kraft’s security handle it, but selectmen said no.
After conferring, town counsel Dick Gelerman told selectmen that the Krafts might give the town the $50,000 deductible as a gift but that he needs more time to work it out.