SPC Students Removed From Artist Booking Process

Wala Hassan (17C) tapes flyers with a quote from author H.G. Wells on Cox Bridge./Michelle Lou, Executive Editor
Wala Hassan (17C) tapes flyers with a quote from author H.G. Wells on Cox Bridge./Michelle Lou, Executive Editor

The search for a Dooley’s Week headliner has been assumed by Student Programming Council (SPC) Adviser Vernon Smith and the Division of Campus Life following the revelation that the announced performer was booked through a fraudulent company, according to SPC President Ria Sabnis (17C).

“Right now, it’s … a rushed process to find [an artist] of the caliber that we want,” Sabnis said. “It’s going through our adviser and not through any members of SPC at all.”

Neither SPC nor the University announced a replacement artist by press time.

The Dooley’s Week concert has been moved to Friday to better accommodate potential replacement artists, Sabnis said.

SPC Requested Monetary Support From WMRE

Campus Life informed SPC March 27 that Global Talent Agency, the third-party booking agency that SPC believed represented Migos, was actually a fraudulent agency, Sabnis said. Global Talent Agency managed to secure a payment of an undisclosed amount before the University realized its mistake.

After Campus Life started its investigation into Global Talent Agency, but before it informed SPC that the agency was fraudulent, members of SPC reached out to Emory’s student-run radio station WMRE March 23 in hopes of raising money to finance an additional performer for Dooley’s Week 2017, according to SPC Vice President Aaron Levey (17B). WMRE declined the offer, Levey said.

SPC had realized March 21 that Migos was booked for a performance in Mississippi on the same date that the band was supposedly performing at Emory, according to Sabnis.

“We are currently in discussions with a second artist to perform at our Migos concert and are slightly short on the money to afford the artist,” Levey’s March 23 email to WMRE Special Events Chair Jamison Murphy (18C) reads. “If WMRE would be able to provide $3,000 – $5,000 … SPC would gladly say in all our publicity that WMRE is providing this new artist to the SPC concert.”

Murphy questioned whether there was ever a potential second artist given the timing and nature of the request.

“I suspect that there never was a ‘second artist,’” Murphy said. “I imagine that I would only get this email if they were unexpectedly short on funds. I was suspicious of it at the time, and the revelation of the Migos scam only confirmed this to me.”

Murphy said that WMRE decided not to contribute funding to the concert, given that their money is devoted to their Spring Band Party.

Levey said that the funding request and discovery of the double-booking were unrelated.

“I got a pretty good sense that [WMRE] was really focused on [their Spring Band Party],” Levey said. “The partnership wasn’t going to click.”

College Council (CC) offered financial assistance to SPC following the announcement that SPC was scammed, but CC President-elect Cassidy Schwartz (18C) said, “It doesn’t sound like [SPC] need[s] our help as of now.”

SGA, Campus Life Refuse to Release Public Documents

Following the announcement last week that Migos would not perform at Emory, the Wheel made several attempts to obtain public documents from the Student Government Association (SGA) that would indicate the dollar amount that SPC paid to Global Talent Agency.

“The papers of the SGA shall be considered public records,” Article VII, Section One of the SGA Constitution states.

Assistant Vice President for Community Suzanne Onorato said she was unable to share the dollar amount of SPC’s payment to Global Talent Agency, citing a possible legal investigation. SGA President Max Zoberman (17C) refused to turn over documents related to SPC’s attempted procurement of Migos to the Wheel four times, also citing the ongoing legal investigation.

Zoberman officially ended his term as SGA president April 3 but was serving in that capacity during his communications with the Wheel. SGA President Gurbani Singh (18B) did not respond to request for documents.

“We will make sure to furnish you with all relevant documentation when the circumstances allow us, [but] at the present moment, you are not entitled to the paperwork and we will not be distributing it accordingly,” Zoberman wrote in an March 31 email to the Wheel. “While SGA is self-governing, we are choosing to self-govern in accordance with the position of Campus Life.”

Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair wrote in an April 3 email to the Wheel that Campus Life does not have an official stance regarding the release of papers.

Director of Student Involvement, Leadership and Transitions Lisa Loveall, who will be the adviser to the 51st Legislature of the SGA, agreed with Zoberman.

“The release of this information could be detrimental to the outcome of the case and is not in the best interest to the students and campus community,” Loveall wrote in an April 3 email to the Wheel.

Zoberman apologized via email March 29 to the student body for having lost the money spent on Migos as well as damaging the trust between students and SGA. Prior to the referendum that split SGA into autonomous graduate and undergraduate bodies, SGA oversaw the distribution of approximately $2.5 million in student funds to campus groups, including SPC.

Fraudulent Agency Not Registered With State or City

Global Talent Agency’s website claims that the group is under the company GTA Bookings LLC and is licensed and bonded and “has been a cornerstone in the booking entertainment industry since 2008.”

However, the agency is not registered with either the state of Georgia or the city of Atlanta as a company.

The address listed on the agency’s website — 500 Bishop Street, Building C, Atlanta — does not turn up results either. Instead, Sonica Recording (Studio) and Cheveux Hair Empire are the only businesses that claim to occupy Building C at 500 Bishop Street, according to the city of Atlanta business lookup.

Cox Bridge Adorned With Flyers

Flyers mocking SPC for being scammed were hung along Cox Hall Bridge Wednesday night by an anonymous party before being removed the next morning. The signs satirically offered to sell the bridge to SPC for $65,000 and asked for “immediate payment without snippets or thinking.”

According to Emory Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Todd Kerzie, Emory’s facilities management staff did not remove the signs.

Wala Hassan (17C) saw the signs mocking SPC and decided to print flyers quoting author H.G. Wells in response: “Let your love be stronger than your hate or anger. Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break.”

“[The original signs] were funny at first, but I decided to head to the library and print these,” Hassan said. “When I got back, they had already taken them down but I decided to put [mine] up anyway.”

Alex Klugerman and Michelle Lou contributed reporting.

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