Law­suit: Can­di­date lied about singer

Tampa Bay Times - - Local - BY CHRISTOPHER O’DON­NELL Times Staff Writer

TAMPA — A con­cert or­ga­nizer is ac­cus­ing Hills­bor­ough County Com­mis­sion can­di­date Elvis Pig­gott of fal­si­fy­ing a con­tract and prompt­ing the head­line act to pull out of a gospel show.

In a law­suit filed in Hills­bor­ough Cir­cuit Court, Corey Curry claims he was forced to can­cel a March con­cert planned for Perry Har­vey Park af­ter Pig­gott de­ceived him over the cost of hir­ing gospel singer Vickie Wi­nans. The singer with­drew a day be­fore the event.

Pig­gott, who is run­ning for the coun­ty­wide Dis­trict 5 seat, struck a deal with Curry to use a con­cert billed as the Bay Area Gospel Mu­sic Fes­ti­val to raise money for his cam­paign. The can­di­date told Curry that he and Wi­nans were friends and he could get her to head­line the show. In ex­change, Pig­gott would get 200 VIP tick­ets worth $75 that he could sell to boost his cam­paign cof­fers.

But ac­cord­ing to Curry, Pig­gott at­tempted to pocket an ex­tra $3,000 by mis­rep­re­sent­ing Wi­nans’ per­for­mance fee. He gave Curry a copy of a con­tract showing she would be paid $8,500. Mean­while, he had signed a con­tract with the singer for just $5,500, Curry said.

Curry got sus­pi­cious one day

A con­cert or­ga­nizer says he had to can­cel an event be­cause Elvis Pig­gott de­ceived him.

be­fore the March 24 con­cert and called Wi­nans. She told him she had agreed to per­form for the lower amount and that she hardly knew Pig­gott, he said.

“He acted like they were best bud­dies,” Curry said. “She don’t know him from a can of worms.”

Win ans did not re­turn re­peated calls for com­ment.

Pig­gott, who is a pas­tor at the Tri­umph and De­liv­er­ance Church of God in Christ on Hills­bor­ough Av­enue, blames Curry for the fail­ure of the con­cert.

When Pig­gott told Curry how much Wi­nans wanted, Curry asked him to get the singer to agree to per­form for less, Pig­gott said.

The con­cert had to be can­celed be­cause Curry failed to get seat­ing, portable toi­lets and a stage in place in time, Pig­gott said.

“He spent those ven­dors’ money; he spent the spon­sor’s money,” Pig­gott said. “He has not re­turned their money.”

Is Pig­gott good friends with Wi­nans?

“She’s a good friend along with ev­ery other gospel artist. It de­pends what you mean,” he said.

Doc­u­ments filed with the city of Tampa show Curry was ex­pect­ing a crowd of 1,000 for the con­cert. Curry paid al­most $4,000 to the city to cover the cost of park ren­tal, per­mits, cleanup and for emer­gency re­spon­ders.

It was the first time he has ap­plied to the city as an event or­ga­nizer, city of­fi­cials said. The city re­funded all but $540. Still, he claims he has lost about $20,000 on the failed event.

“I spent every­thing I had on this show,” Curry said. “He’s turned my life into an ab­so­lute night­mare.”

Both Curry and Pig­gott have been in trou­ble with the law in the past, state records show.

In Fe­bru­ary 2010, Curry pleaded guilty to charges of pos­ses­sion of drug para­pher­na­lia, pos­ses­sion of a con­trolled sub­stance, and pos­ses­sion of less than 20 grams cannabis. Author­i­ties de­clined to pros­e­cute. State records la­bel him a ha­bit­ual of­fender for driv­ing while his li­cense is re­voked.

Pig­gott, 30, was sen­tenced to three years of pro­ba­tion af­ter a 2010 ar­rest on charges of han­dling stolen goods and pro­vid­ing false in­for­ma­tion about the goods.

He said he was mis­tak­enly ar­rested be­cause his twin brother, Melvis Pig­gott, had been steal­ing cat­alytic con­vert­ers from cars and selling them. He knew his brother was on pro­ba­tion and would likely go to prison so he pleaded guilty, he said. The judge with­held ad­ju­di­ca­tion in the case.

Pig­gott, who has raised al­most $20,000 in his cam­paign for county com­mis­sioner, has also been ar­rested four times for driv­ing while his li­cense was sus­pended or re­voked.

He said he un­der­stands why his record would con­cern vot­ers but said he’s a per­son of char­ac­ter.

“It’s not what it looks like,” he said. “I’m will­ing to have an open di­a­logue with any­body be­cause I be­lieve in truth.”

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