Artist ‘Manager’ Dupes Athens

A promoter in Athens, Ohio, claims he was taken to the cleaners by a man posing as Bernie Mac‘s manager. The alleged scammer apparently helped book a fake show then skipped town with the ticket money.

Curtis Manley of Big Events Presents said he was contacted in October by Jason Goldsmith of Macman Entertainment, resulting in a Bernie Mac date at the Athens Community Center. Manley booked the show and the so-called manager handled ticket sales. An estimated 400 to 500 tickets had been sold at $25 each.

Manley has told ticket-buyers to hold on to their ducats while police investigate.

Local newspaper The Athens News co-sponsored the event, trading ad space for a consignment of tickets. The Monday after the would-be November 18th concert, the News published a long and sometimes amusing review of the scam in hindsight.

“Leading up to the scheduled Friday, Nov. 18, performance … everyone locally, including The Athens NEWS and other news media, seemed to believe it was all true,” the paper said.

Some of the dead giveaways included Mac’s “manager” acting as promoter of the show, and his “accountant” collecting the cash ticket receipts the day before the performance.

Another clue the newspaper mentioned was that the only way to buy tickets was with cash at a couple of local music outlets. Also, the show was not publicized because it was supposedly a vacation for the comedian and an opportunity for him to perform for his grandmother, who lived in neighboring Nelsonville “even though no one there had ever heard of her.”

Then, there was the unusual location: a gymnasium.

Manley agreed to the arrangement of turning over the ticket money a day before the show rather than during settlement, but the promoter told the paper it fell in line with the unusual aspects of the show. He went forward with paying the pre-show expenses and even had a signed contract with the scammer.

“This person’s attention to detail was incredible,” Manley said.

Then there were the opening acts, Lopez the One-Armed Mexican and Cowboy Bubba Wayne. When the News did a Google search of the names, the only link was for Manley’s Web site, where the show was advertised.

“In addition, if one enters Bernie Mac’s name into, the main site for the concert industry, it comes back with ‘The artist is not on tour right now,'” the paper said. “The only show at the Community Center Friday night involved watching Jason Whited of Athens and a few other people work out in the weight room.”

Manley recently promoted a failed music festival called The Big One at the Athens County Fairgrounds featuring 70 musical acts, 12 comedians and a classic car show. The event reportedly drew only 1,000 people, leaving Manley down $40,000 and prompting him to promote several benefits to help him pay the performers. The Bernie Mac setup seemed to be a solution to his problems. Instead, he dropped $3,000 for the sound crew and other pre-show expenses.

The “manager” grew increasingly hard to reach via cell phone the night before the show. The next morning, Manley called an agent who had helped him arrange a Travis Tritt and Trick Pony show earlier that year. The agent did some digging and found there was no one named Jason Goldsmith working with the comedian, according to the News.

That was confirmed later that day by a Bernie Mac spokesman, who released a statement saying the comedian was not currently touring and was never scheduled for Athens.