On Monday November 26th, ReggaeMania.com broke the news that Jamaica’s hottest artist, Tommy Lee Sparta, alongside his manager, Heavy D (Heavy D Promotions) and his booking agent, Jackie Baker (Borderline Production Inc.) were being sued by Canada’s CVR Entertainment Promo after a show that was scheduled for December 15th at the Kool Haus in Toronto was pulled by the aforementioned parties due to alleged ‘fraudulent’ cheques that were issued by Canada’s CVR Entertainment Promo as deposits for the show. The abrupt Tommy Lee Sparta concert cancellation was torpedoed across the Canadian border via a November 24th e-blast sent out by Heavy D’s office entitled “No Tommy Lee Sparta For Canada”.
The following statement was made in the e-blast by Tommy Lee Sparta’s manager, Junior Fraser, “We have no intention to do that Canada show on December 15th. The promoter is a con man. He deposited a fraud check to pay for two dates, another one in Trinidad for November 17th as well”.
We were contacted by CVR Entertainment Promo’s CEO – Richard Hope (aka Rich Nice) within hours of this story being published. He wanted to tell their side of the story and volunteered to provide documents that would act as ‘proof’ to substantiate what they had to say, including a cheque issued from a TD Canada Trust account to Borderline Productions Inc., that showed convincing evidence that someone had illegally altered its date.
CVR was not afraid to name names. In his rebuttal, Richard Hope accused the artist’s agent – Jackie Baker of rolling back the date on the cheque and depositing it afterwards. CVR’s claim is that the cheque, which was returned two days later marked NSF only ‘bounced’ because of the ‘alleged’ criminal act. They are mystified as to how and why this cheque was altered and able to be successfully deposited into the bank.
After our interview with CVR Entertainment Promo, ReggaeMania.com published the news breaking story, “Tommy Lee Sparta Sued for 1.5 Million Dollars by Canadian Promoter!”. Little did we know that this story would go viral – sporting the most hits in a single day since our re-launch in September! Our next duty was to speak to Heavy D (Tommy Lee’s Manager) and Jackie Baker (Tommy Lee’s Agent). When we contacted Jackie by telephone, she was understandably very upset and quite emotional. A respected industry veteran with 15 years of experience, her main concern and priority was to “clear her name” as she alleges that many of the ‘facts’ that were told to ReggaeMania.com by Rich Nice of CVR, were in her opinion, “plain lies!”. CVR Entertainment Promo was given the opportunity to tell their side of the story, so, it’s only fair that we let Jackie tell her side of the story. As the saying goes, ‘there are two sides to every story’.
Jackie’s company – Borderline Production Inc. had run trouble-free for fifteen years, her reputability meant everything in her line of work. Her agency represents some of the top artists in Dancehall today – Red Rat to Charly Blacks, Marcia Griffiths to Cocoa Tea, Jah Vinci to Busy Signal etc. Jackie admits, in all her years of doing business, she’s never encountered any shenanigans from any other promoters like she’s now facing with CVR Entertainment Promo. ReggaeMania.com spoke with Jackie via the telephone November 27th to get her side of the story. At one point during our conversation, she put me on hold, called Heavy D and came back on the line for a three way call so that Heavy D could add his point of view too.
“Richard has been the wickedest thing since the devil, a psychopath, a pathological liar, a thief, a con man who belongs in prison. Richard has defrauded enough people; we are not putting up with it anymore”. – Jackie / Borderline Productions
RM: CVR Entertainment Promo claimed you wanted one hundred percent (100%) of your money up-front for the December 15th Tommy Lee concert, is this true?
JB: “That is not true – the only place I do business where I get a one hundred percent is Africa, ’cause you cannot bring money out of Africa”.
RM: As a leading artist Booking Agency, what exactly is your policy when a promoter wants to book an artist like Tommy Lee?
JB: “If a promoter books a show from me, I send him out a contract, he has five to ten days to wire his fifty percent deposit and sends me a copy of the receipt so I can track it and match it – all good. While negotiating to sign that contract and awaiting confirmation of the deposit, the artist (Tommy Lee) cannot accept booking offers from other bidders – the negotiated dates ‘temporarily’ belong to the promoter who has paid his deposit. When Richard (CVR Ent.) reached that plateau, he sent me two fake wires, a bounced cheque and lies – “I’m gonna send you this, I’m gonna do this”. We couldn’t have put up with any more, we have other promoters wanting our artist and now Richard is threatening to put a blocker on Tommy Lee – but you can’t put a blocker on Tommy Lee without a signed contract”.
RM: So, you were sent fake bank wires by CVR Entertainment Promo – after they were proven fake, did you receive any compensation?
JB: “When he (Richard) sent me my bank wire, the bank wire bounced, have you ever heard of that? He didn’t just send us one, he sent us two! Richard’s wires never cleared because they were fake. I gave him five days to make good, so they (CVR Ent.) sent me that cheque. What he did – he took an old bank wire receipt and he copied and pasted it. He made up a fraudulent account, a fraudulent everything, we didn’t know the account the bank came from was not real until it never actually went through”.
RM: What happened when you contacted the bank used by CVR Entertainment Promo?
JB: “According to TD Canada Trust, there is no such number in the bank. The bank wire did not come from TD, I have receipts to prove this”.
RM: That cheque is still a mystery. Are you aware of CVR Entertainment Promo’s claim – that you (Jackie) received the cheque, changed the date on it and deposited it before the post date – which is why it would show up as NSF?
JB: “I have no idea who changed the date on it. That’s how I got the cheque. I put the cheque in the bank. I have a cheque here from J.P. Morgan Chase – (Borderline Production Account) that says NSF (Non-sufficient Funds), it doesn’t say that a date was changed”.
RM: Are you saying that the photograph of the TD Canada Trust ‘suspect’ cheque published in our initial ReggaeMania.com article may have been a fake?
JB: “You saw the cheque that I sent out before I received it back from the bank with the big ol’ stamp on the front saying ‘Non-sufficient Funds’. Your website is putting out the wrong cheque, it’s a copy of the cheque that I got offline that went through my bank. The same bounced cheque where you can see alterations was the straw that broke the camel’s back”.
RM: This must be very frustrating for you.
JB: “This just didn’t start yesterday, what happened is that it finally came to an end and Richard is trying to back pedal. Enough is enough – there’s only so much you can do. People are calling up saying they have Tommy Lee and they gave Richard four or five thousand dollars to do the show and they don’t know what’s going on (there were four or five other people involved in the show) – we didn’t send out contracts to other people, that’s an automatic breach of contract…the show was for CVR Entertainment Promo only”.
RM: Was the contract ever signed by both parties?
JB: “I never sent it back signed. I have the original and I have the other one I sent out to CVR that Richared signed. He didn’t even change it (the contract) by typing over it; he took a pen and wrote through it before signing it. None of the terms of the contract were satisfied and we learned that Richard was trying to write contracts on behalf of Tommy Lee for other foreign dates without authorization to do so. We have had enough. We can’t have our artists being promoted without secured deposits. CVR never got any confirmation from us that the Tommy Lee was coming to Canada and no permission or authorization to start advertising as such”.
RM: So what happened in Trinidad? Didn’t CVR Entertainment Promo book Tommy Lee for November 17th through your Agency?
JB: “I have a contract for November 17th in Trinidad. Richard also sent me a fake wire for that too!”.
RM: So, Tommy Lee did or did not perform for CVR Entertainment Promo in Trinidad on November 17th?
JB: “Richard still kept the Tommy Lee show as advertised (without Tommy Lee) and told people on the mic that Tommy Lee was “banned from Trinidad” because of “immigration problems!”. Now, that’s messing up the artist’s name and my name as a booking agent, when he (Richard) knew darn well he didn’t apply for a work permit in Trinidad. CVR pre-sold and collected monies in Trinidad, that’s what he was trying to do in Canada also, we caught up to it”.
“CVR Promotions pre-sold and collected monies in Trinidad, that’s what he was trying to do in Canada also, we caught up to it”.
RM: So what happened in Trinidad could’ve transpired here in Canada?
JB: “Once bitten twice shy! We have lost a couple of shows in Trinidad because of Richard. We didn’t wanna lose these dates again in December because of him, so that’s why we pulled the show. When we realized that the Trinidad show went on, we came out publically to say – he’s not going to do this anymore”.
RM: Is there any truth to the speculation of work permit and immigration problems for Tommy Lee, as sighted by CVR Entertainment Promo?
JB: “Tommy Lee don’t have a problem with his Visa, he was just in Canada a few weeks ago, he went to St. Vincent, Barbados too, he didn’t have a problem. Richard (Martin) is a narcissistic liar, a pathological liar, a thief and a con man. What Richard was trying to do was to sell out the show at the Kool Haus and then tell the people (at the last minute) that Tommy Lee couldn’t get into Canada. Ask Richard why he has problems in the Cayman Islands, that’s his practice, he goes to these islands, does these things, it catches up on him, he disappears for a couple of years and then he shows back up again”.
JB: “Richard lies too much. He’ll shoot me out an article saying Tommy Lee can’t perform in St. Vincent and that they ‘banned’ him and then the article is ‘fake’! When it came time for him to pay the deposit for Trinidad, he’s telling me he’s having all these problems all over the place and I’m like, ‘Richard, you’re lying – Tommy Lee just finished his bill, what is the hold up? Why are you promoting the artist when Borderline Productions Inc. doesn’t have a deposit? Richard – cease and desist all motion when it comes to Tommy Lee, we’re no longer doing business with you’. This is when this man got mad and he still didn’t stop (promoting the show without authorization), so we had to put out something in the press”.
RM: So, this has been going on for sometime now.
JB: “I’ve known this man for over ten years, I thought he stopped doing this foolishness. This is not his first merry-go-round, not his first get-up, Richard Nice aka Anthony Hope aka Richard Hope aka Richard Evans aka Richard Narinesingh aka Richard Knight!”.
RM: Are you still good with Heavy D? Are there any credibility issues now because of this whole mess between the two parties?
JB: “Now my relationship is not as whole as it would be with Heavy D. I know Heavy D on a personal level, but, for right now, me and Heavy D is going to be having problems. I’m the one that knows this promoter and I was saying “go ahead” (with the show). He (Heavy D) wanted us to pull the show, but I said, “okay, things happen, give him (Richard) a chance to make restitution”. We give him a chance and he (Richard) gives us some story. I got mad and I said I’m not doing this no more. He said, “okay, give me a couple of days” – that’s when he sent the cheque”.
RM: Jackie, one hour ago, a BBM came to me from Richard. He’s laughing because apparently, Heavy D just called and is apologetically negotiating for a make-up concert early in 2013. He said he refused Heavy D’s offer and told him he’s “getting sued”.
At this point, Jackie got pissed! She instructed me to ‘hold on’ until she gets Heavy D on the line (she continues talking until Heavy D picks up).
JB: “Heavy D told Richard a couple of weeks ago he “don’t even wanna hear his name” and he should “f-off” and he’s a “con man”. Heavy D is the one who put out the press release (cancelling the Toronto Tommy Lee show), why would Heavy D call Richard and try to be nice to him? Richard has no credibility”.
At this point, Heavy D enters the three way telephone conversation stopping Jackie in her speech. He was anxious to respond to Richard’s claim that he (Heavy D) had just called CVR Entertainment Promo to negotiate a Tommy Lee make-up date at the Kool Haus!
Heavy D: “A one word me can say – this man is a mad man unno dealing with yunno…is a mad…mad man, because everything he is doing is crazy and it is lie, he’s just talking things that doesn’t go like that. Why would I call him and ask him to do the (Tommy Lee at the Kool Haus) show, for what? Mi not even know him. I don’t talk to that man and I do not want to talk to him, I don’t know what he’s talking about. I don’t want to do no show with him ever in my life. I’m not a liad and that’s all I can tell you”.
“I don’t want to do no show with him ever in my life. I’m not a liad and that’s all I can tell you…the cheque he’s showing you is a fraud cheque, him just make up cheque…a pure lie him tell you!” – Heavy D / Heavy D Production
RM: One question Heavy D, the cheque – Richard claims one of your people changed the date on the cheque…
Heavy D: “That’s a lie, Richard couldn’t have had that cheque. The cheque he’s showing you is a fraud cheque, him just make up cheque, he’s a liad. A pure lie him tell you”.
JB: I have the cheque (laughter), I have it inna mi hand.
Heavy D: “The one him did give you is the one he mek up. Look pon di one him give u and look pon di one wi have, I bet it don’t match. That bwoy a liad man”.
RM: Thanks Heavy D, sorry to waste your time. (Heavy D hangs up. The conversation resumes with Jackie).
RM: Jackie, what about the whole lawsuit threat, have you been contacted by Richard’s lawyer and if so, how are you going to deal with it? I had asked Richard for clarification on his attorney; does the name Herman & Herman, Marco Evans or Marco Herman ring a bell?
JB: “He had some man calling me saying that he’s a lawyer. I called the Ministry of the Attorney General, they never heard of that attorney in Canada, so I know he don’t have no real attorney. CVR has no grounds to sue”.
JB: “My name is going to have to be cleared; I’m not lying down and playing dead. I already called the anti-fraud division up there, I called the Canadian police before and everytime you call it generates a report number. What I’m hoping to do now is find myself an attorney and then counter sue Richard for libel. Also, I plan to put a lein on him – whatever he has up there, until he makes restitution for the damage that he has done to my name, my company and the artist that I represent at the time dealing with him, which is Tommy Lee Sparta”.
“This is our bread and butter, this is what we do, our livelihood; why are we going to sit there and let Richard mess it up for everyone, walk around and tell people he gave Popcaan $35,000 and Popcaan rob him, liar! Richard has had problems with Busy Signal too. You name the artist, he has had problems with them”.
“In my 44 years, Richard has been the wickedest thing since the devil, a psychopath, a pathological liar, a thief, a con man who belongs in prison. Richard has defrauded enough people; we are not putting up with it anymore. He has messed with one too many people’s livelihood. CVR is a promotion company that needs to close, because he is a fraudulent promoter and a thief – he needs to be locked behind bars for defrauding people. He’s upset now – trying to do the double dip, trying to come out publically, thinking it will scorn or intimidate me, but Richard, I’m hear to tell you, I’m not going away, this is a 4’11” woman that ain’t going nowhere!”.
CONCLUSION: ReggaeMania.com will be following this story over the next few days, and yes, we know we’re a website – not a courtroom! We anxiously await your comments (please type them below in the comments box), because there are still several questions pending…
#1: When the ‘suspect’ cheque arrived at Borderline, why did nobody inspect it before depositing it – there were obvious signs of the cheque being altered previous to the deposit and when it was returned NSF, and the said promoter had allegedly already bounced two bank wires.
#2: Who altered the cheque and why? Was it altered previous to being received, altered by Jackie, or altered by another party who took the cheque to the bank?
#3: Who deposited the cheque? Jackie herself or an employee of Borderline?
#4: How does a trained J.P. Morgan Chase bank employee allow a cheque that was in that altered state with no initial on the changed date, to be deposited into anybody’s bank account?
#5: If the deposited cheque was indeed fake or counterfeit, then the illegal tampering and deposit of the cheque, is actually the second of two separate criminal acts, no?
#6: Does CVR Entertainment Promo have the right to do business without a signed contract? We asked CVR for a copy of the contract signed by both parties, they admitted that they didn’t have one and reiterated that a verbal agreement combined with the ‘fact’ that Heavy D previously accepted funds from them meant that they had an agreement.
#7: Did Heavy D really call CVR during our interview with Jackie, hence going behind her back to try and remedy a situation (an obvious vote of non-confidence)? CVR stuck by this story when questioned, but we are still waiting for Richard or Soul Vibes Promo (show partners who promised to call) to provide proof to confirm this claim.
#8: Since running our first story, a Toronto promotions company, who will remain unidentified, has come forward with an allegation that they were ‘robbed’ of their Tommy Lee deposit after a September 1st show contracted with Canadian agent Fabian Hanson (Vibes Enertainment), representing Heavy D Mangement at the time, failed to happen after a work permit was denied for the artist first time around. Borderline Productions has since told ReggaeMania.com that once this promoter comes forward and contacts them (they have no contact info. for these people), that they will be issued a refund!
#9: Since running our story, a separate local promoter has stepped up and told ReggaeMania.com that he has Tommy Lee Sparta scheduled to perform in Toronto and Montreal in January 2013. Despite the claims made by CVR Promo about shutting down Tommy Lee Sparta’s ‘right’ to travel, this promoter stands firm that his scheduled concert will happen and it will not be stopped by the ‘antics’ of CVR Entertainment Promo.