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Shriners sue Live Nation, Old National over Murat renaming

March 29, 2010

The Murat Temple Association has filed suit against Live Nation Worldwide and Old National Bank with hopes of overturning a naming-rights deal for a landmark entertainment and hospitality venue in downtown Indianapolis.

The lawsuit was filed March 26 in Marion County Superior Court.

The Murat Temple Association is a Shriners affiiate that owns the Murat Centre, which on March 16 was renamed the "Old National Centre" in a three-year deal between the bank and Live Nation. Terms of the naming-rights deal were not disclosed.

MTA's suit alleges that Live Nation's lease does not include rights to rename the building, and that the name change "caused Shriners to be held in lesser light by the general public, who erroneously believe Shriners were responsible for the name change, and from whom money is raised to support ... Shriners Hospital for Children."

The lawsuit says MTA notified Live Nation that it did not have the right to change the facility's name more than six weeks before the official renaming took place.

The Shriners are seeking an injunction to reverse the name change and unspecified damages.

LIve Nation operates the 2,500-seat Murat Theatre, Egyptian room and other rooms within the building at 502 N. New Jersey St. under a long-term lease with the MTA. The lawsuit notes that the lease does not include the basement, the Shrine Museum, the Trian Room or the Kniepe Room, and that the fraternal organization has access to the Murat Theatre and Egyptian Room for its own functions nine times a year.

The lawsuit also claims that Old National, based in Evansville, knew Live Nation did not have the right to sell naming rights, but "intentionally induced Live Nation to
proceed with executing the naming-rights agreement over MTA's objection."

The suit accuses the bank of "tortious interference" and says "Old National had no justification for interfering with the business relationship
between MTA and Live Nation."

Attorney Bryce H. Bennett of Riley, Bennett  and Egloff is representing the MTA. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Live Nation is based in Beverly Hills, Calif. Terry Hennessy, Live Nation's general manager in Indianapolis, did not respond to a phone call seeking comment.

Old National Bank CEO Randy Reichmann also did not immediately return a call to comment on the suit.

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