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Judge rules Murat Centre can keep new name

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Marion County Superior Court Judge John Hanley has dismissed a naming-rights lawsuit brought by The Murat Temple Association against California-based event promoter Live Nation and Evansville-based Old National Bank.

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

The Murat Temple Association, which hired Live Nation to manage the facility, sought to block the name change in a lawsuit filed March 26. Live Nation filed a legal request to dismiss the suit in mid-April.

The association's suit alleged 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.”

Judge Hanley disagreed.

“The rulings are just. We are glad this issue has been resolved quickly by the court system and that we can now focus on providing great quality entertainment without distraction,” Richard S. Franks, Live Nation president, said in a press release.

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.

“We’re disappointed in the ruling, and the Murat Temple Association is considering its options,” said attorney Bryce H. Bennett of Riley, of Bennett and Egloff, which is representing the MTA. "The association has a special meeting set up later this month to discuss this matter.”

Legal experts predicted the case was likely to come down to the language in the lease.

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  • How do you know
    Does Chris have a copy of the lease? He appears to know a great deal that he assumes as fact. Is this a shill for someone? I agree the rulings will be based in law. What angered me in this deal was that Live Nation and the Bank donated money to charity at the time of the announcement but not to the Shriner's Children's Hospitals. Murat has done so much for this city and then are slapped in the face this way. It is much like the mosque in New York; You can legally do it but should you. Why aren't these two groups working with one another?
  • Jim, the law is the law
    Jim, the case has ZERO to do with the judge's political affiliation or what his personal beliefs may or may not be. In fact, it is ILLEGAL for a judge to impose his personal bias in a case. Judges simply apply statutory and case law to the facts and make a ruling, even if they hate the outcome. Being a judge is not about ruling how you wish things would turn out, it is about following the law. The area of commercial leases and how they are to be applied is a very clear and well-developed area of the law. The judge read the lease, the lease says what it says, and so the judge is obligated to enforce the terms and conditions of the lease.

    If the Shriners had an idiot real estate attorney who did not draw up a lease reflecting the terms and conditions they wanted, then that is not the judge's fault nor the fault of the Live Nation. It is called tough luck. People and organizations are legally accountable for what they put their signature on, and they cannot weasel out of things just because they don't like the consequences.

  • The Name of Building Didn't Change
    Mary, the theater is still called the Murat Theatre. The signage deal did not alter the name of theater nor change the name Murat etched in the building. It simply added an additional sign calling the building Old National Centre. Commercial leases generally allow the main tenant to control signage rights, unless the lease specifically prohibits it, which this one didn't, or else the case would have been cut and dried and not been dismissed.

    Quite frankly, I don't get all the hoopla over this issue when we have truly important things to worry about like a broke city, state and nation, a Great Recession, two wars, etc. The theater is still called the Murat Theatre, so who cares if they stick some sign near the entrance calling the building "Old National Centre?" People still refer to the entire building as the Murat. It's just advertising, and it is permitted under the lease. If the Shriners didn't want this, then perhaps they should have hired competent real estate attorneys to draw up a lease reflecting what they wanted--laziness or incompetence is not other people's problem. It's time to move on and worry about truly important issues.
  • Uh, Jim
    Judge Hanley was elected as a
    Democrat. Did he become a Republican since then?
  • To me, it will always be the Murat.
    Nothing more needs to be said.
    • The GOP isn't worth much
      It would be nice to see the whole shabang replaced.
    • More selling off of assets
      Here a judge is in line with the GOP Policy in selling off names, assets, everything to the highest bidder. Somehow it is just not American for someone to come in to a historic structure and say you own it, but we are going to change the name and change the nature of the place. I suppose the Shriners was suckered into a 50 or 99 year deal. It is time to wake up and change the politicans and judges who are all about big money and putting money into politics and campaigns. The GOP obviously does not know how to govern.

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