Lawsuit: Candidate lied about singer
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.”