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Originally published Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 9:26 PM

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South Korean pop star Rain awaits fate in civil trial over canceled Hawaii concert

A lawyer told federal jurors that South Korean pop star Rain and his handlers "acted disgracefully," allowing a Hawaii promoter to continue working and spending thousands for a concert they never intended to perform.

Associated Press Writer

HONOLULU —

A lawyer told federal jurors that South Korean pop star Rain and his handlers "acted disgracefully," allowing a Hawaii promoter to continue working and spending thousands for a concert they never intended to perform.

Attorneys on both sides presented closing arguments Tuesday in a civil trial involving the cancellation of Rain's scheduled 2007 concert in Honolulu. The performer faces a similar lawsuit in Los Angeles, where his show at the Staples Center was scratched a couple hours before show time.

Hawaii-based Click Entertainment Inc., owned by Seung Su Lee, alleges Rain and his managers breached a contract and defrauded it of $500,000 in rights fees, plus nearly $1 million in other expenses to stage the event.

Attorney Eric Seitz said the "rug was pulled out" from under his client by dishonest corporations that didn't care that Click was continuing to promote and spend money for the concert.

"They acted disgracefully in respect to Hawaii," Seitz told jurors. "We ask you to hold them responsible."

Rain's concert was canceled just days before the scheduled June 15, 2007, event at Aloha Stadium, disappointing many fans who paid as much as $300 for a ticket and flew in from as far as away as Japan and South Korea. It was supposed to be the first stop on the "Rain's Coming" U.S. tour.

Jon Crocker, lead attorney for Rain and his former agency JYP Entertainment, said his clients fulfilled their obligations, alleging other promoters and Click were responsible for the cancellation. He noted that Click's contract was with a promotion company named Revolution Entertainment, owners of the North American rights to Rain's concerts.

"This is the contract. We're not on it," Crocker said. "It's between Click and someone who's not here."

In 2006, JYP sold its license for the "Rain's Coming World Tour," which at the time was selling out arenas across Asia, to Star M Entertainment for $10 million. The following year, Star M sold the North American rights to Revolution for $2.25 million.

Click has been awarded deferred judgments against Star M and Revolution, both of which no longer exist.

Crocker said JYP's obligation was to turn Rain into a superstar, which the talent agency did. And Rain was ready for the show.

"The evidence shows Rain was always both willing and able to come to Hawaii to perform," he said.

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Crocker said three reasons why his clients should not be held responsible included that no money was paid to Star M by Revolution, Rain had no rights to use his name in the United States because of a copyright challenge in Nevada and there wasn't a stage ready in Hawaii.

He said there was only about $3,000 unaccounted for in Click's expenses, far less the company claims.

Seitz told jurors he gave Crocker an "A-plus" for putting on a show, but called it "one of the most dishonest presentations I have ever heard."

"He's not giving you evidence. The evidence was given ... on the stand," Seitz said.

Rain testified Monday for about 90 minutes. He told jurors he had every intention of performing in Hawaii and other U.S. states, but a series of abrupt concert cancellations were out of his control.

The trial, in its second week, has been complex, involving several companies with multiple contracts and e-mails in two languages, and hours of testimony in Korean. There were instances of questionable interpreting, as well as some testimony lost in translation.

There was also mass confusion created by trying to convert South Korean won into U.S. dollars and vice versa, including when a JYP executive repeatedly told the court Rain earned $1.2 billion a month, "with a 'B,'" which promoted Senior U.S. District Judge Alan C. Kay to say, "Sounds like a bailout plan."

The seven-member jury is scheduled to start deliberations Wednesday.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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