Friday, May 30, 2008

Celtic Woman Ticket and Tour Fraud Exposed By One Of their Longtime Supporters

Update 2/13/2009
For updated information Im publishing my phone number. Call (907) 835 2652 ext. 616. Im available at that number from 12 PM Eastern time to 2 AM Eastern time 7 days a week if you have any questions concerning this matter or any CW related question which I may know the answer to. This is my home number.

Because of the start of the Isle of Hope Tour which had its first performance open to the public in Evansville, IN on 2/11/09 and the fact that I have recieved a ton of emails in recent months concerning this tour and other events that have taken place within Celtic Woman I will be updating this post in the near future. But I will post this. There is one event to take place in the near future that will be telling. Wilkes Barre, PA. I will be attending that concert and the meet and greet after the show. We will see how it goes. Stay tuned..........................

Update5/30/2008
The following letter explains exactly how Celtic Woman LTD treats thier fans and how PBS and the PBS stations treat their large donation supporters. If you dont want the type of treatment that I have endured along with many other supporters, then my advise is to steer clear of Celtic Woman, EMI, PBS, Madstone, and WGBH. I have come to the conclusion that many of these people within the PBS realm and Celtic Woman management are just flat out evil. These people include but are not limited to, Dave Kavanagh, Scott Porter, Rachel Davis, and Joanne Ryan. Its too bad that the performers themselves are caught in the middle of this. Also there are a lot of fans on the Celtic Woman Fan Forums that think this type fraud and deception is OK. The biggest supporters within the fan base of these type of business practices are those on celticwomanforum.com . At least 2 of the performers had enough integerty to walk away from Celtic Woman even though it has hurt at least one of them financially. FOR THE RECORD, I gave the following letter below to MEAV for her reference when she came to the US for her solo tour last December. I personally handed it to her in Plainfeild, NH at the Plainfield Town Hall. I have also linked this to other members via email.

Celtic Woman has not toured in Boston for the last 2 tours as a direct result of their conduct last March (2007). Celtic Woman is currently sueing the creater of CW and those at PBS that put them in the limelight. With few exceptions, I can no longer support the performers in this group, especially Lisa. I will not buy any EMI products or albums, DVDs etc by Celtic Woman or their members as long as these people in their management continue to defraud their fan base. In fact as far as Im concerned Scott Porter and Lisa Kelly are worse then Dave Kavanagh. They have both sold out their friends and coworkers to kiss Kavanagh's ass. Untill there are serious changes from within the management then I will not support the artists financially in any form to prevent that management from profiting from me directly. I expect that they will loose market share and as a result of the economic recession here in the US they will loose even more ticket sales and will fade away as many other groups have done over the years.



August 1, 2007
Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Office of Inspector General
401 Ninth Street, NWWashington, DC 20004-2129

And

Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202

And

Massachusetts Attorney General
Martha Coakley
McCormack Building

One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108

To whom it may concern,
I am writing this letter to you to inform you, PBS, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Office of Inspector General, and the Massachusetts Attorney General that there is and has been an inappropriate and illegal use of both PBS and CPB funding as it relates to the airing of programming by PBS, fundraising conduct of the flagship station for PBS in Boston, MA..WGBH, as well as fraudulent and deceptive business practices by WGBH within the State of Massachusetts. This letter and the details within it are to be construed as a formal consumer protection complaint filed to those whom this letter is addressed. Separate letters will be sent to the New York State Attorney General against Madstone Productions and Manhattan/EMI Records as they are based in New York State and not subject to Massachusetts State law or to the regulations that CPB and PBS member stations must follow. The programming and fundraising events in question is that of the popular PBS program Celtic Woman.

Celtic Woman has been airing on PBS stations all over the country since March 2005 as a pledge incentive program for PBS and the member stations. Celtic Woman is extremely popular and the group has many fans not only here in the US, but in countries all over the world. In the beginning of this joint venture between Celtic Woman LTD/EMI and PBS the program was just another special program to act as a fundraising event to allow PBS stations to raise extra money to keep bringing special and unique programming to PBS and their viewers. The original PBS show of Celtic Woman proved to be popular not only to PBS viewer target audiences but also to those outside the target audience. As a result of that, Celtic Woman reached the #1 ranking chart position on the World Music charts according to Billboard Magazine in March 2005 and has remained in the top 5 since. The popularity of Celtic Woman has also led to Celtic Woman not only as a PBS show but a full touring production between Celtic Woman LTD./EMI, Madstone Productions in New York City and PBS. In essence you have a joint venture between public funding (PBS nonprofit)and a commercial for profit enterprise. I would submit to you that both entities as well as WGBH in Boston are using public funding to create an outright consumer fraud to those that are directly pledging financial support for the private touring production of Celtic Woman LTD/EMI. The following chain of events in this letter, as well as the supporting documents that will be included, will show that what has been allowed to occur by PBS, WGBH, Madstone Productions and Celtic Woman LTD and EMI is an outright consumer protection fraud. In addition to the fraud is a clear violation of the noncommercial status of PBS and WGBH specifically.

The PBS show, Celtic Woman had 4 successful tours here in the United States between the summer of 2005 until the summer of 2006. In August of 2006 Celtic Woman in conjunction with PBS filmed the latest show of Celtic Woman called “A New Journey” and was to begin airing the first week of December 2006 on PBS stations all over the country. The new title of the show was very appropriately named. The fans of this “New Journey” are the ones who would be taken for a ride by the outright greed by Celtic Woman LTD, PBS and WGBH the flagship station for PBS.

A New Journey had an addition to the original performer lineup from the original Celtic Woman show in 2005. Hayley Westenra was added as an addition to the original lineup. When the new PBS Celtic Woman show “A New Journey” aired in December of 2006, the PBS stations all over the country were advertising ticket sales for the tour of Celtic Woman which would be starting in mid February. PBS stations all over the country were advertising that Celtic Woman would be performing and they were all advertising that Hayley the newest member would also be touring with Celtic Woman. All the PBS stations were led to believe by Celtic Woman LTD and PBS that all 6 members of Celtic Woman would be at each of the venues that PBS and their member stations were selling tickets for. Celtic Woman intentionally misled the PBS stations into believing this with 2 exceptions….The 2 PBS stations in Georgia were given heads up that there would be an alternation between Hayley and Meav on the spring tour. Once I learned of this I wrote to a contact that I had within the group because the information that we were given from the station in Atlanta was that Meav would be leaving the tour and wouldn’t be in Atlanta. We were told that Celtic Woman specifically didn’t want that information released and here is the response that I received from my contact.

12/3/06

Tony,
I talked to Lisa. Can't say much on the matter but I can tell you that Meav isn't leaving, so don't worry. An official statement should be released soon. Until then, please don't make mention of anything.
(signed name removed for protection)

After receiving this reply I figured that the information that we were given by the PBS stations in Georgia was incorrect. That fact and assumption would be proven wrong on February 2, 2007.

Celtic Woman released a press release on 1/9/07 about the upcoming spring tour. There were serious questions within the fan base as to Hayleys status on this tour because we knew that she had solo tour dates around the world that would conflict with any Celtic Woman tour in the Spring. As a result Celtic Woman issued the following statement.


January 9, 2007- On February 14, star singing group Celtic Woman
will launch their fifth U.S. tour since their 2005 debut. It is the
culmination of a period of intense activity for the group that began
back in October with the release of 'A Christmas Celebration'
(Manhattan Records). Since then, they've been seen by millions on
their second PBS Special, performed on Brian Boitano's New Years Day
NBC skating special, and celebrated the platinum certification of
their self-titled debut album. Furthermore, on January 30, they will
release A New Journey on CD and A New Journey, Live at Slane Castle,
Ireland on DVD (Manhattan).

This tour will include selections from their first album as well as
material from A New Journey. The original Celtic Woman members will
also be joined by New Zealand singing sensation Hayley Westenra for
some of these U.S. dates.


By their own statement they state flat out that Hayley would be joining the 5 original members for some of the dates. There was no mention of an alternation between Hayley and Meav and no mention that Hayley would be replacing Meav for part of the tour. PBS and the PBS stations continued to advertise the tour as all 6 members performing together for this tour. It wasn’t until 12 days before the start of the tour that Celtic Woman announced publicly that there would be an alternation between Hayley and Meav. Celtic Woman issued the following statement on February 2, 2007.

We are pleased to announce that Hayley & Meav’s alternate dates have now been confirmed.

Meav will open the show in Tampa on February 14th and will continue with the show until Manchester on March 8th.
Hayley will join the show in Boston on March 9th and will continue with the show until Columbus on April 5th.
Meav will be in Indianapolis on April 11th and will then finish touring in Phoenix on May 3rd.

Hayley will join us again in Palm Desert.
As you may know, new tour dates have been added for the month of June, and Meav will be performing these dates right until the final concert in Wolftrap.

As a touring production it is very important to us that everyone involved is happy and dedicated to the show. Touring involves being away from home for a very long time. For Meav this just wasn’t possible with a young child & Hayley’s own solo commitments wouldn’t allow for this either. We felt that the best solution would be for them both to alternate.
The show has always been based around 5 girls. This is not changing and we believe that Hayley & Meav alternating will add a new dimension and freshness to the show.


This statement was issued only after most of the tickets were already sold by PBS member stations and after all the promoting for Hayley being added and joining the tour had already been done. Logic must dictate that the withholding of this material information was only done to maximize ticket sales and to prevent those that are fans of either Hayley or Meav from thinking twice about pledging support to the PBS stations for the express reason to see their favorite performer live and in concert. Keep in mind that PBS was charging as much as $1200 per pair in some markets for these ticket packages. (see enclosed recording from KPBS) As a result of the heads up that we were given by the PBS stations in Georgia and the denial of any changes or modification to the tour lineup in December and January I wrote Celtic Woman to express my outrage to this intentional deception. Here is a copy of the letter and the response that they issued to that letter.


Feb.5, 2007

To Celtic Woman LTD.

I am writing to express my outrage and unhappiness about the news that was posted on the Celtic Woman website informing us that Hayley and Meav will be alternating tour dates. When PBS went on air with the PBS show from Slane their on air fund drive consisted of selling tickets to people who pledged in to the PBS stations. In every case where the pledge drive was taking place each of the PBS station told their viewers that Celtic Woman would be in their local area and that they would be performing live. Then they talked about Hayley having been added to the show . In every case the PBS stations led the viewers to believe that all 6 members would be on tour and performing at those shows. I personally have 10 copies of on air pledge drive tapes from all over the country. What I can tell you is that those pledge drive announcements result in a fraud being imposed on the viewers of PBS to get them to part with funds. Most of the longtime fans of Meav would never have pledged to PBS had they known that Meav wouldn’t be attending the tour as a full time member. The same is true for the fans who know Hayley as well. There are fans that have pledged to see Hayley and now we are being told that she may or may not be at certain venues.

I can assure you that in the last 18 months I have been one of your biggest supporters. For this tour alone I have personally bought 26 concert tickets for various venues in the eastern United States. These ticket price totals $3600 for the 26 tickets. 14 of those tickets are for the venue at New York City , Radio City Music Hall. We have a loyal Celtic Woman fan group traveling from all over the country to see the show. I am personally financing 14 people for this event. As I did for the group event in Toronto last year. Obviously you don’t value your loyal fans who have spent thousands of dollars buying tickets, DVDs, Cds, merchandise at concerts etc not to mention there have been a few of us….myself included……who have financed many of the younger members of the fan base just so they can see a live show. I can tell you now that under the circumstances that as of this moment I have no intention of buying another Celtic Woman Concert ticket, either for myself or for anyone else. And as of this morning I have dumped all of my investment in EMI stock which was a sizeable amount.

As most of the tickets were obtained directly from PBS stations as a fund drive event to a title 26 USC 501(c)3 corporation under US tax law, I fully intend on calling all the PBS stations and cluing them in. What the public was led to believe was that the fans would be getting the whole package of 6 and not 5 members of Celtic Woman. PBS never disclosed that and there was no announcement from Celtic Woman LTD. Of any kind until 12 days before the start of the tour.

There is the concern among many of the fans that this just may very well be a prelude to the situation that happened last year with Deirdre Shannon only this time vice versa. In Deirdre’s case she was expected to go on the promotional tour of Japan after the concert at The Point ended on Feb. 17th, 2006. Of course she was told she wasn’t going and that Meav would be going instead. Its no secret that Meav is more popular in Japan and she was the logical choice to go on that promotional tour. So as a result Deirdre was dumped without forewarning hours before the group was to depart fro Japan. Now in this case its no big secret that Hayley is more popular in the UK, New Zealand and in Australia. Could you be planning a promotional and/or national tour over there? Are you contemplating giving Meav the axe in a similar situation. Makes sense to us as you seem to have a history of it. Remember the famous quote “What is past is prolog.” History seems to repeat itself especially if nobody recognizes the signs. Well I can assure you that we are seeing a pattern emerging here.

I’ve been following many groups, bands and solo artists for many years. I am a lover of all kinds of music. It seems that every group or solo artist that has success eventually reaches it peak or zenith and then they fade away and are lost and forgotten. Usually this occurs when the group, band, or solo artist attempts to change what isn’t broken and their longtime fans loose interest. I only know of one other group who’s management intentionally set out to destroy that group as we are seeing unfold with Celtic Woman. That managers name was a man named Murray Wilson. He was the father and manager of most of the members who make up the members of The Beach Boys. That man did everything he could to destroy that group. Luckily he failed but not before he signed away the rights to all of Brian Wilson’s songs. He did a lot of damage and it took that group years to recover from that. I ask you, please don’t allow history to judge the height or zenith of this wonderful group to be from March 2006 to July 2006.

As I’m writing this I was just informed that Connecticut Public Television was told that there would be all 6 members performing at the 2 concerts they have been selling tickets to. The same is true with New Hampshire Public Television. New Hampshire is going to contact PBS directly. They are unhappy as well. I think it might be time to expose this deceit for what it is. An outright marketing fraud on PBS.

The fact is, it doesn’t matter weather or not these decisions are originating and being executed by Celtic Woman LTD., by the parent record distribution label EMI or its subdivisions. The end result is the same, and frankly the buck stops with Celtic Woman LTD. As long as you take credit for the creation and success of Celtic Woman then by definition you must take full credit and responsibility for any failures, shortcomings, and criticisms derived from that creation. And I can assure you that in the end it will be the fans who will hold you accountable with their wallets.

Respectfully from a loyal fan,

Tony Picallo


Wednesday, February 7, 2007 2:45 AM
Thank you for getting in touch. I can understand your disappointment, but as both performers are outstanding, I hope it will be shortlived. The dates that Hayley and Meav are alternating are now on the website, as well as an addendum to the announcement.
It was never the intention of Celtic Woman to pull the wool over anyone's eyes, and the touring schedule we have now, we believe is very strong, and as fair as it can be to both performers and fans alike.
The Live Show Celtic Woman has always consisted of 5 soloists, and thus, we believe the live dynamic will remain the same.
We hope you understand, and despite your reservations, enjoy the performance you are attending.
Sincere thanks,,
Celtic Woman.

Of course they were just covering their butts because they knew that they had committed consumer fraud by allowing PBS to advertise the tour as having all 6 members performing at each of the venues. The relevance of these statements will also go to show that this is not an isolated event. Celtic Woman also did the same thing just 1 month ago by advertising all over Europe that Hayley would be the “Featured Performer” for the UK tour when Celtic Woman knew full well that Hayley had no intention of ever touring with Celtic Woman in the future at the conclusion of the US tour. (See enclosed photo of the promotional material issued to the venues in the UK and link here
http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b243/tonyw_/CW/cwad.jpg )This departure of Hayley from Celtic Woman was a direct result from the tour alternation that took place in the spring 2007 tour. Hayley, maintaining her independence, was never an employee of Celtic Woman LTD and she was added for the sole purpose to allow Celtic Woman to attempt to break into the European and New Zealand markets. As a result, it’s the fans of Celtic Woman and the viewers of PBS here in the US that have had to bare the price and were deceived by the promotion of this tour to allow Celtic Woman to gain some sort of name recognition in the UK and New Zealand. Celtic Woman knew as we do that there is no way they could capture those markets without a big name star from that region. As there is no PBS over there Celtic Woman wouldn’t have had the means of airtime like they have been given here in the US through PBS. Therefore as a result, its US taxpayer dollars as well as the fraudulent and deceptive business practices of the promotion of the US tour by PBS, PBS member stations (WGBH Boston included), and Celtic Woman LTD that are attempting to be used to promote and to further more touring productions in other parts of the world. It is clear that US taxpayers are footing at least in part a portion of this overseas promotion. The exact same fraudulent promotion of the UK tour is currently occurring only this time Celtic Woman is expressly promoting Hayley as the featured performer even though Hayley herself and her manager Steve Abbott have severed all ties and relationship with Celtic Woman. Steve Abbott was so concerned when the webmaster for Hayleys fansite sent him the promotional material for the UK tour that he went to Ireland to confront Celtic Woman LTD directly and he reported back to Hayleys fans that the UK tour was canceled.
(Steve Abbott reported to Hayleys fans that the UK and Europe tour was canceled on July 2, 2007. Yet, CW continued promoting the canceled tour for another 6 weeks thereafter thereby continuing to deceive the fans even more before issuing the official tour cancellation notice on the CW website. God knows how many bought airline tickets, paid for nonrefundable service charges at the venues and though Ticketmaster etc. during those 6 weeks when CW knew full well that tour was canceled). Celtic Woman has never in the US promoted one performer over another so the only conclusion one can come to is that there is another motive and reason behind specifically promoting Hayley in the European market. Its clear that Celtic Woman LTD wants the best of both worlds…promote the tours to their best interests ignoring the interests of the concert goers and consumer protection laws of the US and other countries of the world. In the promotions of both the US tour and the UK tour they have engaged in outright deception as to the tour lineup. PBS and their member stations are ADVERTISING the tour production and as a result of their ADVERTISING, Celtic Woman is giving PBS and the member stations a very valuable perk……(ADVERTISED ON THE CELTIC WOMAN WEBSITE IS THE FOLLOWING) US Tour Dates
Support your local PBS station, and get the best seats in the house!


But it doesn’t stop there. There is one other extremely valuable commodity being ADVERTISED AND SOLD ONLY THROUGH PBS AND THE PBS MEMBER STATIONS, the ability to meet the performers themselves called “MEET AND GREETS”

I think as far as the issue to the fraud as to the advertising of the tour lineup I don’t think its necessary at this time to go into further details within this scope. Although there is more to the story and I have much more documentation that can be presented at a later time. Now I’ll move onto the next issue in this consumer fraud…….the PBS advertisements, conduct and formats of the “Meet and Greets” of the performers after the shows, and how Celtic Woman and WGBH intentionally ripped off those that paid thousands of dollars for a meet and greet knowing full well that there were several of us that traveled thousands of miles for this specific event.

I traveled from Alaska to the east coast for the spring tour of Celtic Woman in March. During this timeframe I attended 7 different concert events and bought all but 2 of my event tickets through PBS member stations. When selecting venues and PBS stations to deal with I wanted only well known PBS stations to deal with. Because I knew this would be a lot of money for this trip I decided to buy the best seats that could be obtained. Because I wanted to be as close to the stage as possible and to also have the chance to be able to meet the performers after the show at each PBS station I called I inquired about the meet and greet and decided to go that route. Ive done meet and greets in the past and had good experiences with them so I was willing to pay the extra to continue doing so again for the spring 2007 tour.

Because of the distance that I was traveling and the fact that the PBS stations only issue and send out tickets 1 to 2 weeks prior to the event (even though the pledge and cash is collected months prior to) I had someone from the Celtic Woman Fan Forum pledge for me and accept my tickets because I didn’t want them crossing in the mail and I wanted someone in the local area to be able to pick them up directly from the PBS stations if needed. I was after all traveling 10,000 miles round trip for the express reason to see the concerts and attend the meet and greets.
I bought and paid $500 for the meet and greet package through WGBH in Boston. We are not talking about a small sum of money here. WGBH about a 2 weeks prior to the event sent the tickets and the meet and greet letter to the person that called in to pledge for me. I wasn’t the only Celtic Woman Fan Forum member to pledge for this meet and greet. Because we are dedicated fans many of us try our best to obtain those meet and greet passes. The person who pledged for me informed WGBH that I was traveling from Alaska for this as well as several others from other parts of the country. Also Celtic Woman knew which meet and greets we were attending as we have kept them informed as to which forum members are attending which meet and greets and venues etc. Many of us have personal relationships with some of the cast and crew of Celtic Woman and this has led to us getting to know them. As a result of that many of the fans are repeat customers and are willing to buy the best tickets possible and pay for the privilege to have the guarantee of being able to meet and talk to the performers after the show whenever possible and when offered.

I was to attend the meet and greet in Boston on March 10th and WGBH issued a letter spelling out the format for the meet and greet including times, duration and location. (See enclosed copy of letter from WGBH dated 2/23/07 and signed by Marianne Redmond) Basically the meet and greet didn’t occur in the fashion that has been conducted at the other PBS supported events and those of us that paid thousands of dollars collectively for this event were shortchanged and ripped off by Celtic Woman and WGBH. At the time of the event before the performers entered the room we were told that there would be no signings, pictures, or conversation with the performers and that they wanted to get out of there and on the road to the Mohegan Sun Casino that night about 100 mile away. I’ve written letters to both Celtic Woman and WGBH about my outrage and unhappiness as to how we were treated that night and how I feel we were ripped off for over $500 per pair sold. There were at least 25 to 30 pairs sold for this event (I later found out through WGBH that 100 PAIRS were sold amounting to a total value of $50,000)….a huge some of money. Celtic Woman denies that these statements were made. And the meet and greet was conducted in the fashion stated in their response to my letter addressed to Dave Kavanagh and Scott Porter on June 15th.

Their response to my letter is an outright lie and I can prove it beyond any shadow of a doubt. I recorded the meet and greet. Because of the letter that I wrote to Celtic Woman on February 5th protesting the intentional omission of material fact as to the promotion of the tour line up, I knew Id be a target of their wrath at the concerts that I would be attending. The admin of the fan forum received emails from Celtic Woman to remove my posts from the forum which she refused to do because she agreed with me as to the outrageous conduct and fraud being perpetrated by Celtic Woman LTD as to the tour line up and the deception to the fans. To protect myself I made sure that anytime that I was in a position where anyone either from their management or venue staff would have the chance to harass me I was recording. It didn’t take long and I along with several other forum members were targeted by Celtic Woman management or venue staff on March 3rd and March 5th. A full accounting of what occurred is posted at the following link.

**** http://lisakelly.org/forum/index.php?topic=691.0 ****this thread even caught the attention of one of the performers herself and she issued a response.

*****NOTE******The link above does not work because this site no longer exists. The reason it was taken down is because this was Lisa Kelly's official site and fan forum. Because Lisa refused to pay her webmaster the agreed amount for the web design, her webmaster pulled the site for nonpayment (in other words, THEFT OF SERVICES. To date the bill remains unpaid.)



I post as ALCAN1

From rrs51377 Ryan
Lisa, I would not ask you for an immediate response if I did not feel it to be very important. But something transpired after last night's show that you may or may not already be aware of, and it's vital to me that the matter be resolved as soon as possible.Right after Dani and I parted ways, I decided to go to the backstage door with the intention of telling you goodbye before I left for home. (Also, I wanted to thank you again for the time you so graciously spent with me during our two meet & greets in Wallingford) There were about 6-7 of us at the stage door - most of them were looking to get pictures autographed - but there were definitely witnesses to what transpired. I overheard one of guests tell the guard he was supposed to be at the meet & greet, and I told them it was on the third floor. The guard immediately got angry with me and told me "I KNOW WHERE IT IS, AND YOU CERTAINLY DON'T NEED TO KNOW THAT INFORMATION". Of course, I came by the info very legitimately, having heard PBS and/or theatre officials say as much right in the front lobby before the show (not to mention I had fellow acquaintances attending the M&G as well). But suspecting that I might have spoken out of turn, I attempted to apologize; unfortunately, he just waived me off. About 10 minutes later, he asked me to please leave the area; becuase, as he put it "you're definitely not seeing any of the girls tonight." When I asked why, he told me "Do you know what 'stalking' is?" I had intended to wait for you or one of the other girls to come out, knowing that any of you would vouch for me, but he brought in two more guards to have me removed, so I decided it was best to just leave of my own accord. The bottom line is this - I was standing on a public sidewalk, I was standing a foot or so away from the barrier, and I had made absolutely no threatening gestures whatsoever - I was essentially doing what almost every one of our fellow members here has done in the past, or so I believed. Lisa, if you feel that my actions warranted such harsh reprimand, please do not hesitate to tell me so, and I will humbly apologize. I realize that your safety must come first at all times, so I would not fault anyone for taking extra precautions to ensure that. At any rate, I'm sorry for any distress or inconvenience it might have caused you or anyone else in the group, as it was certainly not my intention to do so. I trust that in the albeit limited time you've spent talking with me, you can safely conclude that I am anything but threatening. Thank you again,

Ryan

From Me ALCAN1

Im not suprised that this happend to you. When we were at the theater in Wallingfod on the 3rd, Michael and I were sitting in the fron row waiting for the show to start. Rachel came out into the theater with several security guards and were pointing us out to them. They were on us the whole night. They are watching the forum members very closely. Ryan the only thing you did wrong is you are a single male who went near those busses by yourself. A word of advise...Rule #1 if you are a male dont go by yourself near those busses. Have another forum member with you as a witness. There is safety in numbers and the forum members are clearly being targeted at the venues especially if they notice that you are alone. I have no doubt that you were on camera at the venue and you were pointed out by the security to CW management and they told them to tell you to leave because they know your connection to us. Thats why there was the 10 Min lag in the time that you were asked to leave. We must stay in pairs in these venues and watch each others backs otherwise its our word as individuals against theirs. You were on public property owned by the city of Providence. They have no right to to tell you to leave unless you are causing a disturbance. Now if you climbed into the bus or tried to enter the theater backstage then thats tresspassing and you will go to jail for that. Its not stalking if you are keeping your distance and acting in an honorable way. You were respectful and keeping your distance. Like I said you did everything right except for being alone.Attending the shows with others is a must unless you want this to happen to you. Other then that if you just follow basic common sence guidelines Ive posted in the past then you should be OK. Keep you distance and respect their space. If they choose to come over to talk to the fans they will if they have time. But just remember we are in the spotting scopes and we only have safety in numbers. We all need to watch our backs which is why Im with forum members for every show that Im attending.

And finally Lisa’s response

Hi RyanI'm sorry if you feel that you were treated unfairly. Pleaes remember that each venue and hotel has their own security and very often they don't know our fans. And I'm sure that you understand that their main priority is The Girls. I know that there is nothing threatening about you at all and I appreciate your efforts to thank us for the last few shows. As for the meet and greets, they are controlled by PBS and only people with tickets from PBS are allowed to enter.I hope you enjoyed the shows and I hope that this reply puts your mind at ease.Thanks again for your support

Lisa



Ive included this to give a basis for my having recorded the event in question and to show exactly how PBS supporters are being treated by the management of Celtic Woman.

Now here is a copy of the letter that I sent to Dave Kavanagh and Scott Porter of Celtic Woman LTD on June 15th and their response to it.



June 15, 2007

Dear Dave Kavanagh and Scott Porter,

As the spring/summer tour of Celtic Woman is drawing to a close I thought it was time once again to write to you. Because I wasn’t given any response to my letter of March 25, 2006 concerning the 2 shows in Boston on March 9th and 10th I feel that this time its necessary to send this letter both electronically and through the mail system directly to your offices in Ireland. Unlike in my previous letter I am addressing this to the two of you specifically because in previous communications I have had from your organization through email the responses (when any was given at all) have been canned and lacking anyone’s identity.

As you are aware I along with one other person purchased close to 60 tickets during this last tour for a total of 12 Celtic Woman shows all across the country. Many of those tickets were the “meet and greet” tickets. The price range on those tickets ranged from a low of $300 to a high of $500. Some of the PBS stations in the US were charging as much as $1000 and at least one PBS station in California was charging $1200 for meet and greet.

Of all the meet and greets that I bought and paid for the one in Boston, MA on March 10th was by far the most disappointing. As you are aware because the 2 of you were there in the room, prior to Lisa and Chloe entering the reception area someone from your organization (I don’t know her name) announced to all the others who paid for this event that CW was in a hurry and they wouldn’t be spending much time at this meet and greet. It was announced that there would be no pictures, signings, or conversation with either of the performers. As a result the meet and greet which I paid $500 for was basically just a quick handshake and “thanks for coming”.

As people went up to the table it moved at the same speed as a toll booth along the toll roads in New Jersey. There were a couple of people who stopped and asked Chloe and Lisa to sign something but Rachel who was just doing her job at your direction enforced the no singing rule established prior to the start of the meet and greet. Because I have been to many other meet and greets I have prior events to compare the way Boston was hosted and how it was carried out. That one in Boston was nothing like the others I have been to and was by definition a deception and a rip off. I along with the other fans who were there from the forum were outraged as we are all repeat customers. My question to you is ;Why do you insist on treating those of us who are supporters in such a manner. We simply don’t understand why we are despised by the management team of Celtic Woman. It doesn’t fit with our experience with the interaction we have had with the performers themselves.

Frankly its amazing to me that WGBH who was present and who was the host PBS station allowed this to occur. I even wrote to them concerning this event and how unhappy we were that we traveled thousands of miles for this event only to be treated the way we were. In essence that meet and greet amounted to basically a “Thank you for spending your money for nothing. We don’t care if any of the fans ever want to buy any show tickets again”. You get my point. As a result of my letter to WGBH they responded 2 ½ months later with the following response.

“Dear Mr. Picallo,

Thank you for your taking the time to contact WGBH, and for your generous support. We enjoy these opportunities to share information with our members! Please accept our appoligies in the delay.
Your comments have been forwarded to our pledge production team for any Celtic Women concerts

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As you can see WGBH didn’t apologize for or in any way address the original issues that I wrote them concerning that meet and greet. And of course I never received any response from Celtic Woman LTD either when I wrote in the last time on this issue. As a result I’m giving you one last chance to respond in an appropriate professional manner. You would think that you would value the loyal and committed fans of Celtic Woman. But as we have been shown time and time again by the way we have been treated we know that your organization could care less about the fans that spend tens of thousands of dollars buying Cds, DVDs, concert show tickets, concert merchandise, gifts for the performers and staff that have made Celtic Woman possible, etc.

As you know I hosted and financed the group get together in both Toronto last year and in New York City this year. There aren’t too many others out there that have supported Celtic Woman the way I have. I find the show and the performers simply amazing, something that should continue for all the world to see and enjoy. The performers for the most part love the fans and enjoy interacting with them. The fans also for the most are people of good caliber, although I know there have been a few that have done things that were less then honorable so I understand completely that access to the performers must be controlled in a way that keeps them from having their welfare or safety put in jeopardy. I agree 100% with that. And because I agree with that and also because I have wanted to show my support to both Celtic Woman and to PBS for introducing us to (what I think is by far the most talented singers in history) this amazing group I have been willing to buy the meet and greet tickets for obviously outrageous prices. But that has come to an end. In light of the fact that Celtic Woman and WGBH, the flagship station for PBS in Boston ,elected to treat those of us that paid a total of $15,000 collectively for that meet and greet, only to treated the way were. I will no longer support PBS in any fashion.

The funds used to promote those meet and greets along with the concert tickets are US taxpayer dollars. They are not PRIVATE funds. Because I used to work for public broadcasting I know the system very well. You along with PBS, their member stations and the private companies and promoters have a legal obligation to adhere to certain rules and regulations concerning the use of public monies. And there have been many times where those public funds were used to deceive those that have seen Celtic Woman on PBS and bought tickets or meet and greet tickets only to find later that they were deceived lied to and flat out subjected to consumer fraud. The meet and greet in Boston is an excellent example of that as well as your organizations decision to keep the tour alternation of Meav and Hayley from the public until most of the tickets were sold prior to that announcement being made. Of course there are exceptions to that. And we know that there were at least 2 PBS stations that were told in late 2006 of the alternation and were told to keep quiet about it. As a result because public taxpayer dollars are being used by a Title 26 USC 501(c)3 corporation to deceive concert goers and those that are buying meet and greet tickets under these circumstances it is prudent for me to write this letter informing you of these facts.

Now that these facts have been laid out in this letter I am giving you one last chance to respond. I don’t want some canned response signed by an unidentified person. That response should include some type of rectification to these problems not only to me but to all of us that have been your supporters. One thing that would go along way to solving these problem as well as keeping the fans happy would be the creation of a fan club where we would have the ability to show our support and deal directly with your organization for good concert ticket seating, signings, meet and greet etc. We are after all spending thousands of dollars and traveling tens of thousands of miles to attend shows and meet and greets. I don’t think that is asking too much. We have spent the last 2 years dealing with PBS and dealing with those within your management who hold an adversarial perception towards the fans. The fans are being turned off by this and some are jumping ship and are not supporting Celtic Woman as they have before. You know who they are. And I can assure you that there will be many more to come if there isn’t some sort of mechanism where the longtime supporters can turn to give them some sort of incentive to continue supporting Celtic Woman. If not, you just may find those long time supporters pledging support for Celtic Man (yes we are aware of that upcoming show) instead, reducing market share for Celtic Woman.

Of course the alternative is for me to relay all this information and file a formal complaint with the Inspector General of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which conducts oversights in the use of public funding of taxpayer dollars by the member stations they fund. And I wouldn’t stop there. .PBS Madstone, Live Nation, Manhattan, EMI corporate (informing them of the violations of the partnership agreement), Warner (because they are in a takeover bid for EMI) and a few others will also be informed as well along with some contacts I have within the entertainment reporting department of CNN.

I hope this letter has gotten your complete attention and you now realize that you are not dealing with a bunch of teenage U2 fans. We are 25 years older, educated, and not to be taken for granted. If you do then Celtic Woman will have a short lifespan and the fans will simply loose interest and you run the risk of ruining a good thing that you have all helped to create. I sure hope it doesn’t come to that. Weather you know it or not you all have helped to shape many peoples lives in a positive way. Many friendships have been established as a result of the Celtic Woman experience by many fans and even a loving marriage. Don’t let the stories of those relationships end with a negative perception of Celtic Woman, which is what we see beginning to happen.

My intent was to hand this letter to Rachel in person at Wolftrap in Washington DC but because a coworker of mine had a heart attack I had to cancel my 2 day trip across the country to attend one of the last shows of this tour. Since that isn’t possible I am sending this via email and postal service. It should be waiting for you when you return from the tour.

Sincerely,

Tony Picallo
P.O. Box 2046
Valdez, Alaska 99686

July 6, 2007

Dear Tony,

We have thoroughly investigated the Meet and Greet that you speak of
in Boston. We have found that the management never announced there
would be no signings. In fact there was an issue with sharpies and
both Chloe and Lisa were borrowing pens from the fans and indeed
signed any material requested. As you have stated you have attended
many Meet and Greets around the USA on several different tours and
they are all a little different from each other because they are
organised and prepared by the local PBS Markets and Stations.
We implemented a new structure in 2007 for the A New Journey Tour
which is as follows.
Soloists will be present in their costumes which we felt the fans
would love to see up close. As a result of this there can be no
photography due to copyright reasons. We always carry ample sharpies
and markers to personalise any requested material. We also try and
distribute when we can, a token from Celtic Woman to the fans, in the
form of a photo of the 6 Soloists in Litho, that is signed by the
Soloists present. We always make sure that every person present gets
an opportunity to meet the Soloists and ask any questions, signings
etc that they so wish. At the point when this is complete the
Soloists are escorted backstage.
I am sure you can empathise that the touring schedule for all the
performers and crew is extremely grueling and we try and balance this
with the needs of our fans at all times. It is important to note that
the Soloists love the opportunity to be able to do Meet and Greets
and the management are equally tuned into the importance of
recognising our need to facilitate such meetings.
We are sorry to hear of your disappointment on this occasion but look
forward to seeing you and all our fans at many shows into the future.
Kind Regards
Celtic Woman

Now refer to the recording which Ive included in this package of the meet and greet in Boston on March 10th and compare my story to theirs and see which one is accurate.

What all this amounts to is a clear deception by Celtic Woman, PBS, and WGBH. Its clear that the service paid for and advertised by the standards of Celtic Woman and WGBH is not what was given in return for the price charged. I traveled over 10,000 miles only to be taken advantage of along with the rest of those that paid for their share of this meet and greet. What Celtic Woman and WGBH didn’t expect is there would be anyone out there that would protest this fraud and deception so they have taken the position of denying their wrongdoing.

WGBH could have and should have offered to hold the meet and greet again in June when Celtic Woman returned for a 3 night concert event at the very same venue. They didn’t do that or in anyway attempt to make it right even after I wrote to them in March after I returned home.

The way I see it, Celtic Woman LTD, Madstone Productions, EMI, Manhattan Records, PBS, PBS member stations not limited to and including WGBH Boston has engaged in outright deceptive business practices and fraudulent advertising concerning the touring production of Celtic Woman.

To rectify this situation and to prevent it from happening again the following actions should be taken. These actions are prudent under the circumstances. (1)All monies collected should be refunded for that meet and greet hosted by WGBH. The refunds should come from Celtic Woman directly as they were the ones who cut the event short in the fashion they did. (2) Fundraising by PBS member stations with the airing of the Celtic Woman show on public airwaves should not include ticket sales or any form of meet and greet. Celtic Woman has taken advantage of this and it’s a practice that must be stopped. (3) WGBH should be held accountable for their role in this deception by CPB and PBS. And some sort of State action should also be taken against WGBH for not offering to make good on their promise even if its not their fault.

Hopefully those involved in this deception and fraud will learn to conduct themselves in a more honorable fashion and in the future will not be so arrogant. We are the supporters. Its our hard earned dollars that pay for this and we have been cheated. Ive taken the first steps to put an end to the deceptive business practices of those involved in this but my work is far from done. If no action is taken then I will have no choice then to send all this information to those in the media in the 400 plus PBS markets around the country. Im sure there will be someone in the media either in this country or in the UK that will pick up on this.

Some sort of resolution to this needs to be done as soon as possible. Celtic Woman is coming back in October and I would hate to see anyone else be deceived as we were in the spring. Celtic Woman LTD has shown themselves that they will stop at nothing to defraud their supporters and they are using PBS and the PBS member stations to perpetuate this deception. And WGBH being the flagship station for PBS sets the standard of conduct for all the other PBS stations to follow. What kind of message is WGBH sending by allowing this kind of conduct to be tolerated. It must be stopped. I for one will never have anything to do with PBS or public broadcasting again.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Anthony Picallo
P.O. Box 2046
Valdez, Alaska 99686

anthonypicallo@hotmail.com

Following my submission of the letter above to WGBH I sent it to Celtic Woman to give them a chance to respond before I sent it to the Corp. for Public Broadcasting, PBS and The MA State Attorney Generals Office. I sent Dave Kavanagh the following letter.


Dear Dave Kavanagh,

After over 4 months of getting the run around with WGBH and Celtic Woman LTD on the issue of the events that occured with the meet and greet in Boston on March 10t and your denial of what really took place with that event I finally have begun to make headway to a resolution concerning your deceptive business practices.Two days ago I sent WGBH the following letter allowing them the ability to attempt to come clean as to what occured on March 10th and make the effort to bring this to a resolution at least on their part. As a result I talked to the person who was the host of the meet and greet for WGBH yesterday. What she told me was that because there was over 100 people attending the meet and greet that you (Celtic Woman LTD) didnt want to spend much time there after the show doing signings. Basically your staff was lazy and didnt want to deal with the fans. Thats not to say that Lisa and Chloe felt that way. I saw their faces and expressions and they were as bewildered as we were. WGBH was as disappointed as me. They felt they had no right to protest as you were in charge of the meet and greet even though I know know WGBH took in over $50,000 for this event.

As a result of my telephone conversation with WGBH yesterday they are offering to refund the money paid for that meet and greet. This at least lets them off the hook for the consumer fraud complaint I had every intention of filing against WGBH specifically. I have held off filing the formal complaint letters untill my conversations with WGBH is concluded. However there is still the matter of the deception from Celtic Woman LTD directly, Madstone Productions, and EMI.

Your arrogance in this matter as well as in other business practices that you have engaged in both throughout the inception of Celtic Woman and throughout your career are not going unnoticed and unchallenged. As I said in a previous letter. We are not teenage U2 fans. We are older, wiser and more intune with current events. Your arrogance of denying what occured in Boston is directly what has made me take the stand that I am. You have it within your power to bring this to a resolution without any further harm to either your career or that of the performers of Celtic Woman. I strongly suggest that that you turn a new leaf. As each day passes more and more fans are turned off by your business practices. Its only a matter of time before EMI sees the light on this once they are truly informed as to the nature of the events that have occured. Remember EMI answers to their shareholders and they will hold you accountable in the end as Kennith Lay was with Enron as well as Aurther Anderson.

I hope that in the end you will learn to become a more honorable and moral person. I also hope that Celtic Woman will continue to be successful. Success is better achieved through honesty and integerty rather then deception. And its the deception that has caused you to loose fans and supporters. As long as you are honest you wont loose supporters. If you make mistakes admit them and offer to make them right. If you dont do that then dont be suprised when those supporters turn against you.

Anyway, you will have to face WGBH in the future as well as PBS. And I can assure you that they are going to be seeing you in a very different light after this. We will see what happens with WGBH. I but I cannont as a moral person allow deception to occure if I have the means to stop it or at least have a strong voice about it. Remeber, "Evil Exists When Good Men Do Nothing".

Respectfully,


Tony Picallo




2 comments:

Ashley said...

Tony,

I think you need to update the blog. So much has happened between when you sent the letter to management (Meav leaving, Orla leaving, and the current tour) that I think you need to keep other people updated, especially in regards to the Isle of Hope tour, which I am convinced is a fraud only meant to pull more money out of fans' pockets.

kilmaley said...

I agree with Ashley about the update-ness. I'm anxiously waiting for it ;)

Also, how'd you get away with recording meet and greets?