Syesha Mercado Being Sued By Former Manager

TMZ is reporting that Syesha Mercado is being sued by her former manager:

Former “American Idol” star Syesha Mercado dropped her manager like a bad habit as soon she landed a big gig doing “The Book of Mormon” … allegedly stiffing him out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mercado — who finished third on Season 7 — is being sued by former manager Fred Crawford, who picked her up as a client not too long after her stint on “Idol.”

Crawford claims Mercado agreed to fork over 20% of whatever she made in the entertainment industry. Crawford says he helped her land the “Book of Mormon” deal … for which she earned $40,000 a month.

But Crawford claims right after the ink dried Mercado cut off all communication and never paid him a cent. He’s suing for his “Mormon” cut — roughly $300,000.

Crawford has a big problem … the deal, he says, was never committed to writing.

Calls to Mercado’s rep were not returned, but we’re guessing she tells a very different story.

If the manager never signed a contract with Syesha, not only is he dumb, but will have a difficult time winning this lawsuit.


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  • Larc

    Nothing in writing? Sounds as if he’s up that well-known creek without a paddle. ;)

  • JTN

    Jeez, what is it with all these Idol contestants getting sued? LOL.

  • Connie

    Lisa Kudrow (“Friends”) just lost her lawsuit with her manager – based on an oral agreement. She has to pay 1.6 million to him. Who knows what might happen? However, written contracts are always better.

  • Porfivor Nixon

    Wow, 40 grand a month is a great paycheck. It’s hard to believe this guy is legit, though, if he had no written contract.

  • gclay

    Honestly though regardless of everything good for Syesha making that much bank. Shows how many careers actually come out of this show. She not Jennifer Hudson but she’s making money

  • Incipit

    Who else is getting sued?

  • MV007

    The contract not being in writing doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t have a case. It will just be more difficult to prove. The bigger problem is that 20% is completely unreasonable and I find it hard to believe that a judge would enforce such a contract even if in writing.

  • ptebwwong

    I know Scotty was being sued by his former manager. Here’s the thread that MJ’s did on it:

    In this situation, it also sounds like nothing from Scotty’s former manager was in writing either. As far as I know, it hasn’t been settled yet.

  • Lexie O’Neill

    Actually, his Dad said some time ago that everything had been settled. I think it was where he was speaking to one of our IDF members…it was all settled quietly.

  • Incipit

    Thank you. It sounded like “all these Idol contestants getting sued” was an epidemic of law suits that I missed. But it’s not? OK.

  • RCormier

    Good for Syesha getting the $40,000 a month gig on Broadway. I know It is popular in the Idol world to mock Broadway performers but I’d much rather fund my music career by working on Broadway than through Kickstarter or singing backup for the American Idol band. Idol contestants used to routinely appear on Broadway. Why they would not continue to seek out those gigs is a mystery to me. $40,000 a month is a lot more money than many people make per year. It could fund the music video that Hayley Reinhart is trying to use crowd funding to pay for.

  • H.A.

    That was dumb not to have it in writing but good for Syesha for getting a 40k a month gig. Not too bad.

  • Trina

    Completely agree. That’s a great chunk of change. bet thats WAY money than many of the Idols are getting who are indie now and using these crowd funding methods to get music out. I had an idea Broadway is a good paying gig. Constantine is also a great example of someone who isnt a musical superstar but a Broadway role gave him a nice career and a Tony nomination. I’m assuming he also made quite a bit of money.

  • H.A.

    I don’t know why being on Broadway is something to mock. We also don’t know if more Idols are seeking these gigs because not everyone has the talent and the singing chops to do Broadway.

  • girlygirl

    First of all, 20% is too much to pay to a manager — 10-15% is more common. But if there’s no contract, or no other documentation of their agreement, he’s pretty much out of luck. Because it’s his word against hers.

  • girlygirl

    Not everyone is cut out to work on Broadway. You have to be able to act, as well as sing. And depending on the show, sometimes you have to be able to dance, as well. Not to mention, you are competing against thousands of trained actors for very few parts.

    And most roles don’t pay $40,000/month. AEA minimum scale for a Broadway or national tour is a little over $1800/wk , which would be $7200/mo, not $40K/mo. Obviously, big-time actors or major celebs would get paid more. Not sure how Syesha got paid so much over minimum scale, but good for her if she did.

  • Miz

    Yes, 15% is standard.

  • Miz

    Personally, I prefer Syesha’s singing to Jennifer’s..

  • Miz

    I like Syesha and I hope she comes out on top of this. But if he was her acting manager, despite not having a written contract, and was instrumental in procuring this gig for her, he just may have a legitimate case.

  • overthetop1

    Oral contracts are enforceable, but without the writing, the terms are hard to prove. Still, there could be witnesses to provide testimony and prove the contract. The former manager could argue unjust enrichment at his loss and the judge could award a reasonable fee for the work–the 15%. If he really got her the job, she owes him a cut. Her argument might be that he didn’t really get her the job.

    Poor Syesha. So traumatic.

  • Dewayne Boyd

    This should be quite easy to resolve. Syesha was on Idol 6 years ago, right? If he says he was her manager shortly after Idol, there should already be a track record of him getting paid for smaller jobs. If there isn’t, he’s not credible. If there is, then she is not credible unless she has a way to establish that she cut off the arrangement at a specific time before getting the big gig.

    She might claim that he was her manager only for certain gigs, such as a record deal. This would be rather hard to believe, especially if she had no manager for non-music deals.

  • Q3

    Talent Management for actors is often 20%.

    Syesha could have earned $40K a month with her salary and a percent of the house deal. That would be about right for a principle actor who was not a mega star. The top stars can earn around $100K a months. (That would be an established movie star.)

  • Dianne

    Syesha appeared in the Chicago production of Mormon for many months and when she moved to Broadway with the same role I am assuming that involved a raise? I saw her in the Chicago version and she was perfect for the role. She is so cute and natural on the stage. Hope she is able to settle this, even if she really has been making 40 k a month consistently for the last 2 years or so, 300 k sounds very excessive. I am having a hard time believing she owes her former manager that much money. That is more than 20%.

  • Dianne

    I think there are more but I have the memory of a gnat lol :)

  • justmefornow

    Daughtry’s pre-Idol band is suing him for song royalties as well. I think the case is still ongoing.

  • pj

    I guess the burden of proof would be on the manager. I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t ask for some sort of written contract up front. I don’t know who is in the right here, obviously. 40k a month? I’d take that.

  • Jenna

    Isn’t 15-20% fairly typical for managers?

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    Nope. Every source I can find confirms that 15% is at the high end, and a manager’s request for 20% means you should scrutinize the deal hard and then probably walk the other way.

  • MV007

    I’d be shocked if it were. Sports agents get like 3-5%. It would be highway robbery for a manager to take 20%