Tickets went on sale Thursday at the Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa for an upcoming Jay Leno Show that is one of two shows mentioned in an email April 7, 2015 from Danny Finnerty Director of Entertainment at the Casino in which Howard Pollack was paid as a promoter for doing nothing.
As Tulsa Today covered in a previous story titled “Cherokee corruption revealed, oversight disinvited” Howard Pollack and his business partner’s wife are maximum contributors to Principal Chief Bill John Baker’s campaigns.
In the April 7, 2015 email Finnerty writes, “I was instructed to do two shows ASAP with Howard. I booked Bret Michaels and will likely book Jay Leno. Both will be commissioned to Howard Pollack.”
Why would any outside promoter be paid when the internal staff of the Hard Rock did the work?
Jeffery Pletcher, former senior director of marketing for the Hard Rock told Tulsa Today that on May, 23, 2013, Jay Leno was booked the first time to play in the Hard Rock feature venue, The Joint.
Finnerty brought the show to management and all agreed that a comedy act might work and the team wanted to capitalize on Leno’s popularity close to his retirement.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t sell enough tickets to cover the cost of the act plus production. The show had nice reviews so we looked at another date to play Jay the following year. Danny put the offer out to the agent and it was accepted via email with no contracts sent,” Pletcher said.
“Shortly after having a mutually agreed upon date with Danny and the booking agent for Jay Leno, Gary Weddell, Vice President of Gaming & Retail Operations at the Hard Rock asked how the show performed as it was a $90,000 act.
“I had finance pull the numbers together and the gaming floor did not perform well enough financially to warrant another show according to Mr. Weddell,” Pletcher said. “We didn’t cover the cost of the act and production with ticket sales, and the gaming revenue did not make up for it so Mr. Weddell had Danny retract the offer. Danny said that we were lucky that the booking agent went on vacation and we didn’t have a contract (it didn’t get mailed prior to the booking agent leaving office).
“It appears that Danny was later instructed to book shows quickly involving Howard Pollack and one of them is Jay Leno. Apparently, as long as Howard Pollack is involved, it doesn’t matter how the show performs, Pletcher said.
Who within the organization could override the Vice President of Gaming and Retail Operations to order an expensive act is an unresolved question. As Tulsa Today continues to inquire, a video was provided documenting that the Hard Rock entertainment team knew full well that they did the work and Howard Pollack got what they called “mailbox money” on several shows.
The Jay Leno show is scheduled for September 24, 2015, but one could wonder if Jay Leno knows that his shows are being booked to provide campaign kickbacks to a promoter that donated to the Chief’s election rather than make a profit to benefit the Cherokee people.
Previous stories by Tulsa Today on the Cherokee Election are available at the following links: