FOX 8 Defenders: Concert supporter out $20,000

FOX 8 Defenders: Concert supporter out $20,000

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Robert L. Lucien Sr. of New Orleans, who's 79 years-old, entered into a contract with Anndrea "Annde" LaSalle Irons, a woman he called a longtime friend.  He couldn't believe it at first when she told him she needed $20,000.

Essentially, he signed an agreement with her in March to invest $20,000 in a "White Party Concert" at the Heritage Center in Hammond on April 8.

"The concert was called a white concert, which meant that everybody would be dressed in white," Lucien said.

The contract detailed that on that day, April 8, Lucien would receive $30,000, a nice $10,000 profit on his investment.

"She never asked me for any money before, but she always told me what she was doing, the concerts. After she left the bail bonds business, she said she was into concerts, and she was making plenty of money in those concerts," explained Lucien.

The contract was dated March 15. The next day, Lucien and Irons went to a local bank to access the money and wired $9,000 to Barry Howard in Atlanta.  He transferred the other $11,000 to Extreme Entertainment LLC.

"She (Annde Irons) was there, and she gave the information to the bank officer as to who to send it to," Lucien said.

With the concert date just three weeks away, there wasn't much time to market the event and sell tickets. Money from the ticket sales was supposed to be deposited into an account in Lucien's name. He says that never happened.

"I kept calling and asking her when we was gonna open the account and she'd say, 'Oh, I don't know Lucien.' And then the last time I called her, she said, 'Lucien, you insulted me. I don't even wanna talk to you no more,' and hung up the phone," he said.

He has since filed a complaint with the NOPD, and then turned to the FOX 8 Defenders to investigate.

The name Anndrea "Annde" LaSalle Irons is familiar to us. She was the subject of a 2012 FOX 8 Defenders report where we exposed how she planned a "Back N the Day" jam session at a St. Bernard Parish venue and then cancelled at the last minute, leaving at least one consumer out more than $240.

At the time, an entertainment group representing the artist who was supposed to be featured emailed us, explaining it didn't know anything about the event. After our report, Irons refunded the venue and the consumer.

When we started digging into Robert Lucien Sr.'s complaint, our first call was to the African American Heritage Museum in Hammond, the concert venue listed on the contract. An office manager told us Annde Irons paid them a $300 deposit for a concert April 8, but never paid the balance. The day before the event, Irons cancelled, according to the manager, because she didn't have time to market it.

In that case, Lucien says he should have been reimbursed based on a guarantee laid out in the contract.

"See it says here if the concert is cancelled for any reason, Robert Lucien Sr. will receive $20,000, the monies which was initially invested due on or before Saturday, April the 8th," he said.

Over the last week, we emailed Annde Irons and we called her several times only to get a voicemail that was full. Then, we went to the Harvey address listed on her contract. The subdivision was gated, so we couldn't get inside.

Irons finally called us back on Wednesday with a different version of the facts, stressing that while she has a contract with Lucien, she never physically received the money because the funds were wired directly from Lucien's account to the two parties. She did confirm that she went to the bank with Lucien and directed him where to wire the money. She also claims Lucien cancelled the concert when he sent her a letter demanding his money back.

From there, we reached out to Barry Howard, the man who received the $9,000 wire transfer. He tells us that he's a promoter in Atlanta and that money was a deposit made the next day to secure "Love and Hip Hop Atlanta" with reality TV personalities Stevie J and Joseline Hernandez. But Howard says Irons cancelled and wanted to reschedule. She disputes that as well. We've reached out to managers for both artists to confirm, but have not heard back.

Next we looked into who runs Extreme Entertainment, the LLC that received the $11,000 from Lucien. A secretary of state business filing led us to a home in Gretna. Walter Butler with Extreme Entertainment confirmed that his company received the money to advertise and market the White Party Concert for Annde Irons. But soon after, butler says she cancelled, and he tells us he gave Irons most of the $11,000 back, minus his fees.

We asked for proof of that transaction, but at this point, he has not provided it.

Irons says Extreme Entertainment returned money to her, but not for the White Party Concert she had planned with Lucien.

"We don't know what her intention was, whether she intentionally took the money with the purpose of never creating a performance and never raising any money and never paying this guy back, which could, of course, be a fraud problem and a criminal fraud problem," said Tulane law professor Joel Friedman.

Friedman says at the very least, Lucien has a valid civil action with Irons for breach of contract, but hiring an attorney and moving through the court system will take time and more money.

"There's so much information on the internet, you know, if he had Googled this woman's name, he would have discovered information about her past dealings that probably would have discouraged him from giving her a penny," Friedman said.
Lucien has learned a tough lesson.

"I have not heard from her, nor do I expect to. She might be laying on the Riviera somewhere," he said.

He's out $20,000 dollars, but vows he's going to fight for justice.

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