Again relying solely on a story appearing in The NY Post. Click here to read. It is claimed that “Famed Photographer David LaChapelle Sues his Ex-manager for 2.8 million dollars”. We don’t know if there is any validity to the claims. We do know that reps, agents, managers, gallery owners and agencies which sell or license intellectual property, steal often from those they represent. Photographers are victimized in high numbers – especially by their reps. For over three decades we have urged, yelled and screamed at photographers and illustrators to do their own billing and check and double check each transaction. Reps and agents steal using techniques that most photographers and any half decent accountant would discover in a heart beat.
Jack wrote the invoices and always had all checks go to him, not the agent. He pays his agent their commissions along with a photocopy of the client’s check so there is a check and balance for both photographer and agent. Jack had one friend, a fellow photographer, who let his agent write the invoices and get the payments. Not good, but then worse, he got no photocopy of the client check. Jack strongly suggested to ask for the copy of the client check. Let’s just say the photographer and agent separated a short time later.
President Reagan said, “Trust, but verify”. Reps, agents and managers who handle other people’s money are in position to steal it…and they do. There is rarely a month that goes by when Ed’s office isn’t engaged in attempting to recover stolen money from a rep, agent, gallery owner or manager. If you are uncomfortable working with numbers then have your spouse and/or an accountant review your bills, invoices and payments. Ed has had several cases where the thefts by reps from photographers went into six and seven figures. Do your own billing. Receive all checks and then pay your rep or agent their share. Beware, be careful, be in control of your business and never trust the financial documents provided to you by a rep, agent or manager. Don’t let other people hold your money.
Once the money’s gone and all the spending ends, the rep may not be ’round anymore.