Thursday, September 4, 2008

What's going on with the 2% workdues on Special Payments?

First, just the facts Jack. The AFM has not billed or invoiced anyone for the 2% work dues tax as of 9/4/08

But according to Lee and Folio, prosperity is just around the corner. They were chomping at the bit to spend the 2% work dues levied on recording musicians who receive special payments checks. They expected the 2% so-called work dues tax, totaling about 1.2 million dollars to start pouring in right about now. Surprise, that just may never happen.

1. Before the AFM can invoice anyone for the 2% (for monies that by any measure are not work or scale wages) the Federation needs itemized information from the Funds (Record and Motion Picture) - whom to bill, where to bill and exact dollar amounts.

2. My New York AFM sources tell me that the Federation has not yet received a shred of info from the Motion Picture Fund regarding that information. It appears there have been legal inquiries to both Funds regarding whether or not it is within Fund guidelines and actually legal for them to send the AFM personal and private income related information about Fund participants.

3. My AFM sources also say that the Federation has already spent more than 60% ($600,000) of the money it was expecting to get from the 2%. The AFM is now desperately raiding other restricted monies, including their relocation fund, to pay the their monthly expenses. AFM sources also confirm that the AFM's Attorney billable hours are out of control- much of it related to actions relating to recording musicians. Lee clearly expected to collect the money and use much of it against recording musicians, raising concern amongst certain IEB members.  

4. So, the bills are on hold, but, if and when they are ever sent out I strongly urge every recording musician to ignore them. If and when bills are ever sent out, new lawsuits against the Federation will be filed immediately. If you ever get a bill, check back here for further information. If the bills ever come, and they may not - you would still have several options; not paying a thing, installments, waiting until a final notice or until charges are filed before you even considered sending a single dollar.

5. I'm wondering-just how did the AFM intend to collect 'work dues' from the hundreds and hundred of folks who receive checks from the Funds but are not AFM members and are In no way obligated to pay anything, for example the beneficiaries, spouses, former members and non- AFM-members (yes-some receive checks) etc. Was the AFM planning to illegally bill them all anyway and hope they paid? I've been told that these folks account for more than a third of the funds distribution. Curious indeed.

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