From the Desk of Rick Siegel
For close to a decade I’ve been sending out emails relevant to my fight against the wrongful enforcement of The Talent Agencies Act and how it has compromised our profession.
Most of you knew I had my own crap, but I have never detailed just how devastating that enforcement has been on my life.
My company, through clients I had primary responsibility, lost millions in otherwise-owed commissions. My business went bust. I went bankrupt. I have been fighting to save my home for years, and the fight is not yet over. And while I am immensely proud of my current business endeavor (thegreengarmento.com), the journey led me to leave show business and personal management, a career I loved.
In 2002 I hired attorneys telling them that I thought unconstitutionally vague because there was no notice of penalty, and that’s the argument I wanted them to make. They didn’t.
Had they argued that because the Act has no penalty statute the Labor Commission has no right to impede a manager’s rights to contract, I would have gotten all of my owed money and you wouldn’t have had any worry about something similar ever compromising your businesses. There is clear law on this issue, and it has uniformly be decided that without notice of penalty, one cannot mete out penalties.
In 2007 I initiated a malpractice action against my attorneys for their failure. The bad news is that it has still not resolved. The good news is that on September 8th, I have the opportunity to ask a Court not only to deal with the malpractice, but more important, to finally make a binding determination that even if you put up a sign saying “UNLICENSED PROCUREMENT OF ARTISTS’ EMPLOYMENT HERE,” the Labor Commissioner has no right to void or alter your client contracts.
The argument will be heard at the Ronald Reagan Building, 300 South Spring Street, 2nd Floor, North Tower, probably between 2:30 and 3. I hope you will come, or have someone in your office come.
Here’s why: I believe when we argued in front of this same court about severability, the attendance of personal managers — about thirty — caught the Justices’ attention and led to us winning that part of the argument. This time it’s for all the marbles: if the Justices rule, as they should, that without statutory authority there is no way a personal manager can be penalized for unlicensed procurement, show’s over. But the Court can rule for me and not make a ruling on the TAA — that’s why I beseech all of you to consider coming.
I have spent a decade working, at the sacrifice of my financial well-being and career, to make this law go away for the betterment of us all. I ask that you consider spending some of one afternoon giving the Justices notice that it’s important to all of us for this crap to end, once and for all. To those who have already benefited by tens/hundreds of thousands, even in the millions because of my work, I especially ask for your help through attendance.
Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call me with any questions. And yes, I think even seat-fillers, if they look like and are dressed professional (no shorts, no t-shirts) would do the trick. Join me, and I know that this time our side will win.