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Businessman, Dance Troupe In Court On Attempted Eviction

September 24, 1991

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A businessman and a Soviet dance star are sparring in court over whether a contract between the two extends to the star’s troupe.

Carl Kusnell Monday testified that he had provided food and lodging for the ballet company last month as a favor to the troupe’s leader, Vadim Pisarev. He said he supported the troupe because ″they were on the street, with no funding, no food.″

But Kusnell said he did not feel compelled to continue doing so.

″I didn’t have a responsibility,″ Kusnell testified before Common Pleas Judge I. Raymond Kremer. ″I had no obligation in my mind.″

″The only contract was with Vadim Pisarev,″ said Kusnell’s attorney, Gary Green.

The Vadim Pisarev Russian Ballet, which is known in the Ukraine as Donetsk Ballet, is fighting eviction from Alden Park Manor, where they have been since mid-August. The court hearing is scheduled to continue today.

Pisarev later testified that it was his understanding Kusnell would find housing for the dance troupe, though not necessarily at Alden Park.

″We were promised we would be given some other apartments,″ Pisarev said through an interpreter.

The dancers’ attorney, Richard Malmed, said there had been no court proceedings to justify the eviction. Malmed also said the contract bound Kusnell to provide food and lodging to Pisarev as well as his troupe.

But Kusnell said the troupe referred to whomever Pisarev danced with and did not bind Kusnell to support any of the dancers in the Russian Ballet.

″Vadim was able to choose which dancers are able to dance,″ Kusnell said, noting that the troupe could change in composition from time to time.

Kusnell had originally placed Pisarev and his troupe at La Salle University. When students returned to school, Kusnell arranged for the troupe to stay at the upscale Alden Park Manor.

Locks on the apartments had been changed two weeks ago to force the company out, apparently after Kusnell and Pisarev got involved in a contract dispute.

Common Pleas Court Albert W. Sheppard Jr. last week allowed the company to stay at the apartments until Monday’s hearing.

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