The National Association of Ticket Brokers has responded to the criticism I leveled at the group yesterday for their handling (or lack thereof) of Jason Nissen with National Event Company’s arrest for orchestrating a $70 million Ponzi scheme, defrauding investors who believed they were purchasing large allotments of Hamilton tickets.
As part of a wider criticism of the NATB, I posed the question “Where is the National Association of Ticket Brokers in all of this?” and wrote “The group once more has been caught sleeping on the job while one of its esteemed members operated a $70+ million scheme. It’s pretty clear that the NATB is totally incapable of policing itself — what I want to know is who is going to protect us from the NATB’s criminal members?”
That then prompted a response from the NATB, who told TicketNews:
“Naturally there is a little gossip and tabloid-style reporting with incidents like these, and [Amplify’s report] is consistent with the nature of gossip in that it is wrong and reflects a lack of information,” adding “This news about Mr. Nissen was made public just yesterday, so it’s outlandish for the blogger to suggest that our trade association should have known about it and taken measures about it before law enforcement did. We operate in the world of real information, not fantasy or storytelling. It is readily apparent that the comments are clearly not based on facts but rather are the result of an axe to grind against brokers, the NATB or both.”
An interesting response that begs a larger question — do I have an axe to grind with brokers or the NATB? C’mon, why would I take issue with an organization whose members have turned concert tickets into an unregulated commodities market will no transparency, accountability or ethical boundaries?
But seriously, I’m not anti-resale and I understand the important financial role it plays in the concert world. I just believe brokers and the NATB deserve scrutiny and should be held accountable.
Bottom line — there are many victims of Jason Nissen’s crimes, including ticket brokers who sold him inventory and now have to make a difficult decision to either cancel tickets or take a financial hit. If tickets are canceled, that will hurt consumers and have a lasting negative effect on the secondary ticketing industry.
Nissen was a member of the NATB, a group that is supposed to police ticket brokers. Not only does the NATB seem woefully incapable of fulfilling their responsibilities, they’re underwhelming response and attempts to dismiss the criminality of one their own members is both laughable and ridiculous. Perhaps the NATB should stand for Never Acknowledge Terrible Behavior, especially by its members.
Ponzi schemes aren’t a normal course of business. This arrest could very likely create a new Scorebig-style crisis. Once again, instead of being proactive, the NATB finds itself watching from the sidelines and deflecting blame. That’s sad and the entertainment industry and consumers deserve better.