New York agent Carlos Keyes says he didn’t try to scam more than $1 million from a British party-planning firm when booking a Lady Gaga spring break concert in Cancun, Mexico.
London-based party planner Banana Split filed suit against Keyes claiming he issued “a fake contract and several Lady Gaga contract riders” for the singer to appear at the March 16 private event.
The suit claims Keyes and alleged co-conspirator Vincent Carroll of Nevada Style LLC have created “an enterprise comprised of multiple corporate shells that is funded by and actively engaged in a pattern of defrauding businesses using the same concert scam.”
“Defendants executed a web polished scheme to bilk hundreds of thousands of dollars from foreign concert promoters by posing as entertainment agents and purporting to book concerts on behalf of famous music artists with whom they had no relationship whatsoever,” the Manhattan court filing says.
Keyes, whose Red Entertainment Agency represents Chic Feat. Nile Rodgers, Dionne Warwick, Freddie Jackson, Keith Sweat, and Peabo Bryson, among others, says Banana Split was completely aware the booking was never a scam.
“They had direct communication with Lady Gaga’s representatives which confirmed that she would perform at the private event on March 16 in Cancun, but that Lady Gaga would only do a piano performance. She was ready to go and perform at the event,” Keyes told Pollstar.
“At that point Banana Spilt no longer wanted her to perform at the event because they felt that Lady Gaga performing on a piano would not be appropriate for the theme of their party and only wanted her with a band,” he explained.
He says his company forwarded the deposit to Carroll at Nevada Style Inc., the mediator for the deal with Lady Gaga representatives, who claims the money will be returned to Banana Split next week.
The suit says the defendants pocketed the deposits and booking fees and hid the money out of reach of the concert promoter before their “scam” was discovered
Banana Split says it eventually met with Gaga’s “actual agent” Troy Carter, who said the singer “would not do the performance.” Carter is actually Gaga’s manager.
The London firm now wants the return of its $1 million deposit, plus damages for conspiracy and fraud.