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Rogue agent fined

Hemming held on to comics' cash

A rogue agent has been fined more than £2,000 for failing to pay acts for their performances.

Gerald Leslie Hemming, who traded as Hemmings Leisure Ltd, was also ordered to pay back more than £3,500 to comedians and musicians, including £1,300 to veteran stand-up Tom O’Connor.

The 69-year-old complained after he did not receive his full payment for a corporate awards dinner in Solihull in the West Midlands.

He said: ‘I’m delighted that this dispute has been resolved. I hope that this acts as a warning to any other promoters who are tempted to hold on to artists’ fees.’

At Solihull Magistrates Court, District Judge Nigel Cadbury called Hemming’s actions ‘serious deceitful, despicable behaviour and not the behaviour of an ordinary decent businessman’.

The case was brought by the government’s Employment Agency Standards inspectorate. Minister for Employment Relations Pat McFadden said: ‘Cheating comedians and exploiting entertainers is no laughing matter. They have employment rights too and we will stick up for them. I am pleased to see that the individual responsible has been brought to justice.’

People can report employment agencies they suspect of breaking the law to the inspectorate on 0845 955 5105.

Posted: 30 Jan 2009

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