Pataki Vetoes Manager Bill

New York Gov. George Pataki recently vetoed a bill that would have allowed artist managers in the state to procure employment for their clients.

Personal managers viewed the bill as a stopgap to being dropped by clients at the first signs of success; performers unions argued it could lead to unsupervised talent agencies.

“This is a situation that has robbed hundreds of millions of dollars from the personal management profession,” Marathon Entertainment’s Rick Siegel said. His client, Nia Vardalos of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” dismissed Siegel after her movie became successful.

Personal managers argued the bill would slow a tendency toward legal action against former clients who gain success and then decide not to fork over the manager’s 15 percent.

Supporters believe Pataki was pressured into the veto by the Screen Actors Guild. Likewise, the Writers Guild of America told the governor the bill would exclude personal managers from the definition of a theatrical employment agency “thus permitting them to act as unlicenced, unbonded, and unsupervised talent agents.”

In other words, managers would be able to play the role of booking agent without the oversight and supervision under which agents operate.

“The Screen Actors Guild and others argue that this bill could result in artists being denied the protections that New York law currently provides against unscrupulous employment agencies,” Pataki stated in his veto.

“Specifically, while the proposed definition of ‘personal manager’ is intended to resolve disputes in the modeling industry, it would apply equally to all other areas of the entertainment industry. … The bill could result in unscrupulous employment agencies claiming to act as personal managers, thereby allowing them to provide substantial employment-related functions outside the protections of the law.”