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DEVELOPING: "Promoter" Accuses Shriners of Racism in Concert Fraud

DEVELOPING: A call to Daddy Yankee's public relations contact Mayna Nevarez revealed that "promoters" are using his name to book concerts that aren't officially scheduled and that the FBI is investigating. A July 20, 2006 press release on Daddy Yankee's site reports that similiar fraudulent concerts were scheduled by "promoters" in South Carolina and Georgia that ripped fans off for $100 and $150 tickets that promised a meet and greet with the artist.

"We have alerted the authorities and our fans. We ask them to alert us of any other fraud committed under Yankee's name at El Cartel Records," said Nomar Ayala, brother and manager of Daddy Yankee.

Original story follows:

Eileen Jones of WSFA 12 News out of Montgomery, Alabama reported that a Latino "La Noche" concert that was to be held in the Shrine Alkazar Temple was cancelled and that promoter Chris Miles was told by the leader of the Shrine Temple that "the Latino community is not wanted there." Story here.

Twenty thousand flyers have been posted in small towns between Montgomery and Birmingham promoting an event called "Latin La Noche" that was to feature Latin Hip Hop artists Daddy Yankee and Don Omar. "However," the story reports, "when people show up Friday night at the Alcazar Shrine Temple for music and dancing, they'll likely find the doors closed."

According to the news report:

"Mr. Miles claims the Shriners' last minute change is a clear case of discrimination. He says its 'racism.' WSFA 12 tried to get the Shriners side of the story. The Potentate, Larry Simms, tells WSFA 12 News that he did not want the Latino community, but refused to go on camera."

A video of the broadcast news story by Jones can be seen by clicking on the camera icon labelled "Latino Concert Canceled."

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This should not characterize all of the Shriners as racist. I know that most Shriners are compassionate people dedicated to a really great cause. This, however, does not surprise me, because:

  1. The majority of Shiners are older gentlemen
  2. This takes place in The South

Many older gentlemen in the South are pretty stuck in their ways. Not to say that all older gentlemen in the South are racist, that racism is limited to this demographic, or even that this is an excuse -- its just the way it is. I would have preferred if the "Promoter Accuses Old White Southern Man of Racism," as to not blanketly accuse a great organization of something that is simply not true (The Shriners are Racist = False).

Reply#1 - Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:25 PM EDT

I agree, Techgnostic. It appears, however, that Sandy is doing a complete "investigative" series on just how bad the Shriners are. You should take a look at her column. While it does appear that she is uncovering some real negatives about the organization, I feel that she is trying to paint with too wide a brush.

I also wonder: why is she targeting the Shriners? Does she have some connection to them? Was one of their negative episodes located in her hometown? An answer to this question would give some context by which we can better understand her motives and the conclusions to which she comes.

#1.1 - Sat Aug 19, 2006 10:49 AM EDT
Reply

Thank you for your comments. If you read Shriners Part 1, you will discover how I came to be involved with this story. I understand that the general Shriners membership is hard working and the work done at the hospitals is commendable. I have no axe to grind with the Shriners nor have had any negative experiences with them. I have just finished reading a number of articles published by the Orlando Sentinel from an investigation they did into the Shriners 20 years ago that led to other Attorney Generals investigating them for fundraising irregularities and the State of Florida levying fines against them as well as Shriners headquarters punishing temples and individuals for wrong doing. These articles touched on some of the things I've written about and have described things far worse than anything I've reported. In other words, twenty years ago, the Orlando Sentinel discovered that the Shriners lied and exploited sick and crippled children when they sold circus tickets to support their hospitals when the temples kept most of the money raised for entertainment, ceremonies and maintenance. I'm sure that you will agree that no matter who the group may be, whether they might be the United Way or the Red Cross or the Shriners, the possibility that non profit leaders have exploited those less fortunate for their own personal gain bears investigating. Prior to looking into the Shriners, I spent three years investigating another non profit group who, at the time, was not compliant with federal or state disclosure and reporting laws. These groups and donors are granted certain tax benefits as long as the public good is served. These are issues that are important to the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, who just received a GAO study on excessive compensation for non profit hospital executives, as I referred to in "Unanswered Questions - Shriners Part 7." Again, thank you for your interest and your comments. Sandy

Reply#2 - Sun Aug 20, 2006 4:22 AM EDT

Thanks for the response, Sandy. I thought that you might have explained your interest and involvement in this early on, but I didn't bother to re-read your earlier articles. My bad.

#2.1 - Sun Aug 20, 2006 3:00 PM EDT
Reply

Not a problem, Darrell. I apologize in advance for how these articles are written. I believe in using the "dry, boring and detailed" disclaimer! I know these articles aren't really lively and don't deal with anything sexy as far as news goes but I'm one of those who like to dig and report what I find. There certainly is a back story that, in itself, is pretty unbelievable. But for now, I will keep following the paper trail, checking out the leads and tips that are passed along to me and reporting what I find. Thanks again, Sandy

Reply#3 - Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:11 PM EDT

Well the first part was not nice. Criminals scamming hip hop fans it sounded like. Hope they are prosecuted. Now Shriners ban concert in there hall . If it is a private building they can pick and choose at will I believe. This reminded me of the closure of a rap bar in a town I lived in. It was open a year but after numerous 911 , a couple of shootings , gang rape of a teenager the town council said enough and shut the place down. People cried racism but a society must protect itself , correct?

Reply#4 - Tue Aug 22, 2006 5:39 PM EDT

I would simply like to add that as I am nor not have I ever been a Shriner, I do not appreciate the negativity which is being construed here. The Shriners that I do know are probably the kindest, most generous people I have ever met, if we had more people like them, this world would definitely be a better place and the comments including the personal attacks on a group of elderly men and their ability to function sexually as well as the other crap written in the Toronto Street News which I will continue to support but will not read again as a result of that article is almost as absurd as not being objective enough to realize that there are bad apples in every crop. Look at the schools, churches, goverment etc. When a group promotes the ideals these guys do, you could at least point out some of the thousands of good things that come with the odd bad one which is very difficult to control with an organization of that size.

Reply#5 - Mon Sep 18, 2006 7:52 PM EDT

Thank you for your comments, Richard. And thank you for taking the time to read my articles. Again, my investigation is not an indictment on the average Shriner. If you read Part 10, the leaders condemn themselves as they discuss crime, mock sexual harassment and tell offensive jokes. Thanks again,
Sandy

Reply#6 - Thu Dec 7, 2006 3:42 PM EST