A North Hollywood man with two prior fraud convictions was charged Friday with untrue and misleading advertising for allegedly promoting theatrical plays he did not intend to stage, the Los Angeles city attorney’s office said.
Kevin Mark Von Feldt, 41, faces a maximum jail sentence of six months and a $2,500 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor charge, said Deputy City Atty. Ellen Pais.
Von Feldt advertised in a newspaper and distributed flyers promoting a spring and summer 1991 theater series in the Renaissance Theater at 5269 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood.
The advertisements said the series would feature “Death of a Salesman,” starring Don Rickles; “The Music Man” starring “WKRP in Cincinnati” co-star Gary Sandy or talk-show host John Davidson; “Born Yesterday,” starring Claude Akins; and “My Fair Lady” starring Noel Harrison. Ticket prices ranged from $78-$85.
“Von Feldt had no agreements with any of the actors he was promising,” Pais said. “And he was unknown to the Equity Union, with which he would have to post a $50,000 bond to satisfy union requirements for safeguarding the interests of actors and theater workers.”
Investigators also found that some of the actors listed in the promotional literature had asked Von Feldt to stop using their names, prosecutors said.
Von Feldt paid the Los Angeles Music Center $5,700 for the opportunity to send out flyers to people on the center’s mailing list, Pais said. Tickets were offered through Ticketmaster or at the Renaissance Theater box office. Only about 40 tickets, however, were sold before the purported scheme was uncovered, Pais said.
This is third time Von Feldt has faced charges of false advertising.
In 1986, Von Feldt bilked people by charging them for training they were to receive to become pilots, flight attendants and other flight personnel. He promised to get them jobs with Hawaiian Pacific Airlines, prosecutors said.
“The problem was that Hawaiian Pacific Airlines had no planes, no operating permits from federal authorities and, in fact, only existed in Von Feldt’s mind,” City Atty. James K. Hahn said.
In a 1986 movie promotion scam, Von Feldt advertised books of tickets to 52 movie classics, such as “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Blob,” without having rights to the films or any agreements with theaters to show them, prosecutors said.
“Von Feldt ran or attempted to run commercials offering ticket books for $39.95 each on 20 television stations in 13 states,” said Hahn, referring to the scheme as “a total rip-off.”
Von Feldt was sentenced in 1987 to a year in jail and three years probation after pleading no contest to 10 misdemeanor false advertising charges in connection to the movie and airline schemes.