XO Festival organizers mislead the public about their relationship with the Bay Area Rapid Transit District and have been forced to remove BART’s logo from their sponsorship page.
BART’s Patricia Williams informed Amplify yesterday (May 17) that the transit agency never agreed to sponsor the event, despite a claim on XO Festival’s website that BART was an official sponsor. Attorneys for BART have since ordered XO Fest to remove the reference from their site.
The revelation is the latest piece of evidence that festival organizer Sami Habib is misrepresenting his July 13-15 event at the Contra Costa Event Park in Antioch, California. Despite promising eight stages, two silent discos and amenities like the XO Sky Lounge (the image he is using on the site was lifted from an event in Australia), Habib has only spent $1,000 to secure the site and so far has budgeted about $27,000 for the fairgrounds, an amount of money that many concert organizers say is inadequate for an event of this size.
Making things worse, Habib and Contra Costa Events Park CEO Joe Brengle attempted to conceal Habib’s involvement in the event — in February, Habib (real name Habibullah Qadir) and his brother, 30-year-old brother Mohammed Qadir, were arrested as part of a real estate scam involving high-end properties. According to the police, the men allegedly lied about their backgrounds to Bay Area landlords and leased multiple properties under fake names, never paying rent and causing damage to the properties, with financial losses adding up to $120,000. They’re both currently out on bail.
When Amplify sought a copy of the contract Habib had signed to rent the Contra Costa Event Park, Brengle provided us with a redacted copy, using a sticky-note to cover Habib’s name. After Amplify protested that covering the contractee’s signature and masking their identity violated the California Public Records Act, the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture which oversees the state’s fairground properties released a non-redacted contract, showing that Habib was the signatory on the rental agreement.
Habib has already had to change the name of his event — it was called XOXO Fest but a Portland event of the same name threatened to sue, forcing Habib to shorten the name to XO Fest although elements of the event’s website still use the XOXO name, including the site’s URL.
As for BART, Habib has removed the transit agency’s logo from XO Festiva’s sponsorship page, which still lists Facebook and Sirius XM as well as a number of Bay Area radio stations, none of which have been verified.
“Please be advised that the District does not have any records responsive to this request and that our logo has been removed from the list of sponsors,” William’s informed Amplify in a letter.