Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Hip Hop flim flam?
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Hip Hop flim flam?

Patrick Sullivan - November 28th, 2011  
HIP HOP flim flam? Woman who invested in a rapper winds up bankrupt

Patricia Gilroy invested in a rapper and wound up bankrupt.

Patricia Gilroy never listened to Saginaw-based hip hop artist Papa Wiz T, a.k.a. Ariz Staton.

She never played his CD. She never tried to go see him perform in concert. She doesn’t even like that kind of music – she prefers jazz, rock or country.

“I had the CD. I don’t like it. I had absolutely no interest in that kind of music at all,” Gilroy said.

Nonetheless, through her then-boyfriend, Patrick Feeney, Gilroy invested around $80,000 in what she hoped was a way to double her money through the promising career of an up-and-coming rapper and his record label, New Trend Records.

That was 2003. Papa Wiz T never made it to the top of the charts. And Gilroy never got the return she was promised. She never saw any of that money again.

Now Gilroy blames that investment on the unraveling of her finances.

She lost the home she built on the Old Mission Peninsula. She lost her business, French Manor Senior Living, an assisted living facility in Traverse City, when a bank note came due and she had no cash. The business is currently operated by different owners.

“If I would have had that extra $80,000 laying around, I would have had some extra money to deal with the bank,” Gilroy said.


Gilroy says when she met Feeney the pair hit it off. She thought they were both successful, of strong faith, and trustworthy.

“I thought I had connected with a genuine individual,” Gilroy said.

She dated Feeney and soon he moved into her house. That was March, 2003.

That January he wanted to buy an expensive hunting dog, Gilroy said, and she wrote a check. She says now that should have been the first red flag.

But she was still smitten when Feeney approached her with an investment. He offered her a way she could double her money. Feeney wanted Gilroy, a woman making her living in the elder care industry in Northern Michigan, to become a hip hop investor.

Feeney told her about a rap artist he worked with.

Papa Wiz T had a CD from 2001, apparently a self-released album. Some of the tracks listed on amazon.com for the album One Painted Story include “Everybody Like Some Kind Of Music,” “Blackside Of Life,” “Yall Don’t Know” and “Controlling Or Holding.” Track number seven is called “I’m Not Guilty (True Story).”

Gilroy signed over around $86,000 to Feeney and New Trend Records, a decision Gilroy now deeply regrets.

“I lost my home in bankruptcy due to this whole mess,” she says.

A listing for New Trend Records in Saginaw was disconnected and Ariz Staton could not be reached for comment.

Feeney said his attorney advised him not to comment because he is involved in a bankruptcy case related to the dispute.


In 2009, years after Gilroy was supposed to receive double what she invested, Gilroy filed a lawsuit against Feeney and Ariz Staton.

A process server working in Saginaw could never locate Staton to serve him the lawsuit. The lawsuit was dismissed against him and New Trend.

In the lawsuit, Gilroy sought not only her original investment, but also the 100 percent return she was promised.

Her attorney, Joseph Mollica, argued the case involved breach of contract and fraud.

“Patrick and Wiz were aware, at the time they made the representations to Gilroy, that they would be unable to pay Gilroy,” Mollica wrote. “Patrick and Wiz made such representations to Gilroy in order to induce her to make the loan to them.”


When Feeney answered the suit, his first several arguments dealt with technicalities in the law.

First he argued that he shouldn’t be on the hook for anything more than what was loaned.

Feeney and Ariz and New Trend were lent $86,210, and the rest was interest. What’s more, Feeney argued, it was illegal interest, because it exceeded what a person is allowed to charge for a loan. It was “usurious,” he wrote.

He also argued the money was invested in New Trend, not loaned to him.

Feeney also argued that merely not paying back money doesn’t constitute fraud. He said Gilroy would have to prove he acted in bad faith when the contract was signed, something he asserted she would not be able to do. Just because you’ve broken a promise, he argued, doesn’t mean you’ve committed fraud.

“Plaintiff was an experienced businesswoman who understood the relationship between risk and interest rates. She well knew that her loan to New Trend was highly speculative,” he wrote.


Later in his pleadings Feeney made a very different kind of argument.

Feeney said in his court filing that he began dating Gilroy in the fall of 2002 and they moved in together in March of 2003 into the house she was building.

He said he lived there until July of 2006. When he met Gilroy, he was already working for Staton and New Trend Records.

“Throughout our relationship, plaintiff and I would discus the business of New Trend Records,” Feeney wrote.

In June of 2003 he said he began working for Gilroy at the French Manor and he helped Gilroy construct her Old Mission Peninsula home, acting as an intermediary between Gilroy and the building contractor.

Feeney said he saw first-hand that Gilroy was a knowledgeable business woman capable of understanding investments.

That first note, the one from September, 2003, could not be repaid when it was due, Feeney wrote.

“Plaintiff was understandably upset.

Because we lived together and because I worked for her, plaintiff knew I did not have the money to repay her,” Feeney wrote.


Feeney said they drew up a new note in November 2003 to replace the earlier one.

This time Aziz Staton and New Trend Records were the guarantors and Feeney only signed as an officer of New Trend, Feeney said, an arrangement he said made sense because by now Gilroy must have understood that if she was going to get paid, the money wasn’t going to come from Feeney.

When the repayment date for that note came and went, Gilroy still did not see a nickel.

Meanwhile, Gilroy prepared to have a child by artificial insemination.

“Plaintiff was, again, understandably upset when she did not receive payment under the terms of the November note. Nonetheless, I continued to live with plaintiff for two and a half years after the payment was due,” Feeney wrote. “I continued to work for plaintiff. I was her birth coach in October of 2004 when her son was born. I was the first person to hold him, served as his primary caregiver, and raised him as if he were my own son until plaintiff ended our relationship in July of 2006.”

Feeney said he’s been mischaracterized by Gilroy.

“Plaintiff’s complaint attempts to paint a picture of me as some conspiratorial schemer who swooped in, stole plaintiff’s money, and then slunk away in the night,” he wrote. “That is simply not the case.”

Feeney said Gilroy wanted to make a buck and she thought she could strike it rich in the world of hip hop.

“Plaintiff was very willing to loan money to New Trend in the hopes of getting a big return. Even after New Trend failed to pay on the note, she entered into another speculative investment arrangement...”


Gilroy says this is not a fair characterization of their relationship.

She said that Feeney stuck around after the deal went bad not because she wanted him to, but because she couldn’t get rid of him. Gilroy said she continued through 2007 to give Feeney smaller amounts of money.

“I couldn’t get him out of my house,” Gilroy said. “I was hanging on and hanging in there to get my money back.”

When she filed for bankruptcy she finally got rid of Feeney, she said.

“I kicked his butt out,” she said. She said she had tried to get rid of him sooner but he always returned. “I dropped him off in the driveway” of his parents’ house, she said.

In the end, Feeney gave up trying to fight the lawsuit Gilroy filed against him over the investment.

Toward the end of the lawsuit, Mollica, Gilroy’s attorney, withdrew from the case for medical reasons, leaving Gilroy on her own.

Then Feeney failed to appear at a courtordered mediation and Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power ordered a default judgment against Feeney in September 2010 for $172,989.

If things had suddenly appeared to have turned in favor of Gilroy, it didn’t last long, however.

In the meantime, Feeney filed for bankruptcy.


Rory Mortimer, an attorney with offices in Alpena and Petoskey, looked at the contracts between Gilroy and Feeney and he thought it looked like Gilroy was the victim of a scam.

“I believe there was no chance for that venture to get off the ground,” Mortimer said. “It’s unfortunate she didn’t have someone look at the papers ahead of time.”

Mortimer said some aspects of the contract looked outright false, such as a provision that money would be held in escrow by the Securities and Exchange Commission before Gilroy was paid.

“It just didn’t make any sense,” Mortimer said.

The difference between a bad investment and a scam is that in a bad investment, the investor has all the information up front about what they are getting into, Mortimer said.

“I’m quite certain the Securities and Exchange Commission was not involved in this case,” Mortimer said.

The case is currently being argued in bankruptcy court where Gilroy is seeking to be included among creditors and Feeney is fighting to have the debt discharged.

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