Ex-Tipitina’s club owner’s family sues him, alleging fraud
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former owner of both the Tipitina’s music club and Orpheum Theater in New Orleans defrauded three of his family members out of $2 million, the three relatives say in a lawsuit.
Roland Von Kurnatowski is being sued by his sister and two nephews, The New Orleans Advocate reported . Joan Hooper and her sons, Andre and Christian Hooper, filed the suit Wednesday in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.
The lawsuit says Von Kurnatowski conspired with Cody Walker, a former Iberiabank vice president, to dupe the three into investing the money into several development projects across Louisiana and Texas.
Some of the real estate deals involved the Tipitina’s Foundation, a nonprofit associated with the popular music venue and bar. The foundation works to preserve Louisiana’s music culture and empower children to learn about it. The organization was especially active after Hurricane Katrina.
Von Kurnatowski promised high-dollar tenants, but instead several occupants were other entities he controlled that paid little or no rent, the lawsuit says. He also misled the Hoopers about how much money was needed to get some properties ready for leasing, the suit says. He created duplicate bank accounts to reroute funds and avoid paying utilities and other costs, leaving them responsible for the bills, it says.
The Hoopers are seeking damages for several of their claims, including breach of contract and negligence.
Von Kurnatowski and Walker did not respond to the newspaper’s messages seeking comment Thursday.
The lawsuit is the latest in a series of claims against Von Kurnatowski’s businesses, two of which involve debt collection. He sold Tipitina’s in November to funk band Galactic, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reported .
Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, http://www.neworleansadvocate.com