JOPLIN — A former concert and event promoter is charged with four contempt counts after failing to make restitution to victims who gave him booth-rental fees for concerts and events that never happened.
Derrick Gates, 30, is charged with one count of failing to make restitution payments of $680.04, two counts of failing to properly register a business and one count of using a name other than his legal name to conduct business.
The state attorney general's office also is looking into whether Gates' new ministry violates a permanent injunction banning him from promoting concerts and events and whether he has failed to disclose income that could have been used to pay off portions of the restitution judgment.
The attorney general's office filed a lawsuit against Gates and two other men in December alleging they defrauded vendors of tens of thousands of dollars in down payments for booth space for three events that never took place.
The sham events were Godstock, a Christian music festival scheduled for last summer in Joplin; Battle for the Mic, a rap concert that was slated for August 2007 in Kansas City; and the Ink-Deep Tattoo Convention, which was to be held in December 2007.
Gates was ordered in June to pay more than $28,500 in restitution to the vendors and was given 3½ years to do it. He also was permanently banned from promoting concerts and events, and he can't take deposits from vendors unless he first posts a $200,000 cash bond with the local court.
The order also stipulated that any future businesses that Gates undertook must comply with Missouri laws and be registered with the secretary of state's office under his legal name.
The judgment included a $25,000 fine that was suspended pending his compliance with the order.
"Our responsibility is to ensure he has been complying with every aspect of the court order," said John Fougere, a spokesman for Attorney General Jay Nixon. "After taking a close look at all the facts, we've determined he's in violation of the court order."
An attorney for Gates, who has also gone by the name Derrick Badders, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Friday, and the only phone number listed for a Derrick Gates in Joplin had been disconnected. Gates declined to comment to The Joplin Globe earlier in the week when asked for an interview about an alternative church he started, called Edge Worship.
A MySpace.com Web site for Edge Worship says Gates is renovating a building to convert it into a church with a "concert venue" for Friday and Saturday nights.
"You may call us outcasts, but God still calls us sons and daughters," he says on the Web site. "Whether you're an addict, alcoholic, a prostitute or a criminal, or just into hard-core music, or maybe just into serious praise and worship, you're still welcome at Edge."
Fougere said Nixon's office will be investigating the church.
"We will take a look at some of these new allegations, determine what the facts are and make a legal determination as to whether he's in violation," he said.
Many of the vendors that Gates defrauded told The Joplin Globe that they think the new church is a scam.
"I'm glad that he's found God if that's the case, because before, he needed to," said Cory Sheppard, owner of Punktuer Tattoo in Joplin, who says Gates still owes him $700 for booth fees for the tattoo convention. "But this is Missouri, buddy. This is the Show-Me State."
It's unknown whether Gates actually is an ordained minister, although he refers to himself as "Pastor Derrick." He attended one semester at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, where education programs are offered to people who plan to enter into Christian ministry.
"Is the collection plate going to pay his cell phone bill and his truck payment again?" said Craig Lucas, who owns Shamus McInky's tattoo shop in Buffalo, N.Y. "If he can rent a building, he can write me a check. If he can turn on utilities and have another computer to do this MySpace, he can write me a check."