News Article

Don't Drink the Water

DMB pays $100,000 in sewage incident. The band donates money to Chicago agencies without accepting blame for the dumping of a tour bus septic tank onto a boatload of tourists

No one is saying ''I did it,'' but Dave Matthews Band has coughed up $100,000 anyway in response to an August incident in which a DMB tour bus driver allegedly dumped 800 pounds of sewage from a Chicago bridge onto a boatload of tourists. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the money has been evenly divided between the city's Parks Department and the Friends of the Chicago River, a private, nonprofit group dedicated to keeping the waterway clean.

The eco-friendly band said it had suspended bus driver Stefan Wohl, who had acknowledged driving the bus over the bridge at about the time of the incident but had denied flicking the evacuation switch and dumping the septic tank. A nearby security camera reportedly caught the bus on tape, and the state of Illinois filed a lawsuit against the band, which is still pending. But DMB described the payout as a gesture of good faith and not an admission of guilt. ''If we are the responsible party, we offer our deepest apologies to the passengers on the boat, the City of Chicago, our fans and those who have worked so hard to clean up the Chicago River,'' the band said in a statement. ''We hope by reaching out and helping now this will help demonstrate our commitment to step up if we are found to be the responsible party.''

Originally posted Oct 25, 2004
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