NYC Consumer Affairs Dept. Scrutinizing Ticket Brokers

News   NYC Consumer Affairs Dept. Scrutinizing Ticket Brokers
 
The business records of all 47 brokers licensed by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs have been subpoenaed as part of an investigation concerning the distribution of tickets to hot rock concerts, Broadway shows and other events.

The business records of all 47 brokers licensed by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs have been subpoenaed as part of an investigation concerning the distribution of tickets to hot rock concerts, Broadway shows and other events.

Back Stage reporter Robert Simonson quoted Shonna Keogan, press secretary to commissioner Jose Maldonado, as saying, "Hopefully, we'll find out where big blocks of tickets are coming on, spot any irregularity, and see if anyone is siphoning off tickets." This comes a few weeks after NYS Governor George Pataki signed legislation on how much brokers may charge for their services. The old law, which permits a maximum of $5 or 10 percent profit on top of ticket value, was re-approved Sept. 23 (and valid for one year).

The law deals not only with theatre, but with concert and sporting events as well. Quoted by Back Stage, Pataki spokesman Charles Deister said, "We had to get something out there."

Pataki's been co-supporting a bill with the Consumer Protection Board, which, while eliminating surcharges, allows a resale cap of 40 percent above face value. State Sen. Roy Goodman (R-New York) is sponsoring a similar bill with a 30 percent cap -- a bill supported by the Shubert Organization, NY Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and the League Of American Theatres & Producers. (League executive director Jed Bernstein, out of town until Oct. 13, could not be reached by Playbill On-Line at press time.)

--By David Lefkowitz

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