A Few More Things: Winans, Chemical Romance, Pussycat Dolls, CMA Fest

Two members of the Winans gospel-music family are accused of a Ponzi scheme, My Chemical Romance and The Pussycat Dolls lose band members, and additional performers are added to CMA Music Festival’s lineup.

A Holy Ponzi Scheme?
Michael Winans Jr., is known by his family name, which the Detroit Free Press notes is “the first family of gospel in Detroit” – but his name is now being connected to a Ponzi scheme. His father may also be involved in the crime.

Michael Winans Sr. and his brothers Marvin, Carvin and Ronald made up the gospel group The Winans. Winans Jr. was a member of Winans Phase 2, a group made up of sons of the original gospel group. The family’s stars in the biz also include BeBe & CeCe Winans, as well as Mom and the late David “Pop” Winans Sr.

Michigan’s Office of Financial Insurance Regulation is accusing Winans Jr. of leading a Ponzi scheme worth at least $2.6 million and possibly raking in profits as high as $11 million. The office issued a cease-and-desist order Thursday to stop selling unregistered securities products, although commissioners believe the scheme shut down operations a few years ago.

The OFIR said Winans Jr., his subordinates along with several related business entities, violated the state’s Uniform Securities Act.

“We believe that the Winans family Ponzi scheme ran its course at the end of 2008,” said OFIR Commissioner Ken Ross in a conference call this morning, according to the Detroit Free Press. “There are few winners here outside Mr. Winans Jr.”

Ross said Winans Jr. used the family name and connections in churches to attract investors in a scheme that promoted bogus Saudi Arabia crude oil bonds. Police identified at least 180 investors, who were told they could double their funds in 60 days.

Regulators said pastor Michael Winans Sr. may have also have promoted the scheme, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Click here for the Detroit Free Press article.

Click here for the AP article.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
Jane’s Addiction isn’t the only band saying goodbye to one of its band members. In a blog post titled “One chapter ends and another begins,” on Wednesday My Chemical Romance announced that the band had parted ways with drummer Bob Bryar.

The band explained it was breaking the big news on its Web site because “we wanted this news to come from us and not some bulls**t gossip site.”

Bryar and the band went their separate ways four weeks ago.

“This was a painful decision for all of us to make and was not taken lightly. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors and expect you all to do the same,” guitarist Frank Iero, Jr. wrote.

Photo: AP Photo
Mall of Asia Concert Grounds, Manila, Philippines

The Pussycat Dolls’ lineup has also been downsized with only two original Dolls left standing. In a recent interview with U.K. men’s magazine Loaded Kimberly Wyatt said that she’s no longer with the girl pop group as she alluded to drama amongst the Dolls.

“I love being a Doll, but as far as the variables off-stage are concerned – I just couldn’t do it anymore,” Wyatt said, according to the Daily Mail.

On Feb. 27 Ashley Roberts announced in a blog post that she was also leaving the Dolls, writing that “it was an amazing ride and I learned so much.”

In January Jessica Sutta’s announced her own departure from the group, which leaves just Nicole Scherzinger and Melody Thornton.

Scherzinger recently told MTV that “we’re gonna have a new cast of Dolls. And I’m excited.” She added that fans can expect a new album late this year.
CMA Festival Lineup Expands
Country fans planning on making the trek to Nashville for this year’s edition of CMA Music Festival will be pleased to hear that Tim McGraw has been added to the event’s lineup as part of the second round of scheduled artists.

Photo: AP Photo
NBC "Today" show, New York City

The 2010 fest marks McGraw’s first appearance at the fest since 2001 when he took the stage as a surprise guest during Kenny Chesney’s set. The singer, who was last on the official lineup in 2000, has participated in the festival eight times since 1993.

Alan Jackson has also been added to the lineup – marking his 16th appearance at the fest – along with Billy Currington and Kellie Pickler.

Previously announced artists include Brad Paisley, Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Martina McBride, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, and Zac Brown Band.

CMA Music Festival takes place June 10-13 at LP Field in Nashville. The artists donate their time and in return, the fest donates half of the net proceeds to music education in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Click here for the CMA Fest’s Web site.