Earth Wind & Fraud
Up to 2,000 people paid $10 to $15 expecting to boogie at the Robert A. Sessions Memorial Sportspark April 22nd. An hour after it was to begin, Mayor Katy Yslas-Yent reportedly canceled the show and said refunds would be available at City Hall.
When word came that EW&F was not coming, disappointed fans pointed the finger at the band and the city.
“Someone is running a scam,” the band’s William Morris agent, Jeff Frasco, said.
Promoter Stan Mayo, who charged the city $4,000 to set up the show, initially said the group couldn’t make it because its motor home broke down.
EW&F publicist Rick Scott said the band doesn’t even own a motor home. “They have tour buses!” he said.
Confronted with the denials, Mayo said he was taken advantage of by an industry contact whose name he said was Mike Payne, though he wasn’t sure of the spelling.
“I was going to pay him $3,500 for getting the band for me. I never paid him and the number I have was disconnected. It might have been a pay phone,” Mayo said.
Scott said the fee Mayo was going to pay his contact was absurdly low; a one-night performance by the band costs as much as $100,000.
City Manager Paul Warner said the city lost about $7,000 in advertising and projected profits from the concert, and Mayo still has a $2,500 deposit. Warner is reportedly discussing legal action with the city attorney. He said he intends to get the money back and will never do business with Mayo again.
However, the city has already hired Mayo to put on a Fourth of July show, according to the Barstow Desert Dispatch. Warner said those contracts will be re-evaluated by the city attorney.
“He has no credibility. I don’t want to do business with that man,” Warner told the paper.
Mayo said he has not been told that city officials want to terminate their relationship with him. “I’ve been doing shows at the Sportspark for … years and I’ve never had a problem with the city,” he told the Dispatch.
Warner reportedly said Mayo had been hired to put on two shows at the Sportspark since 1997.