Friends:
 
A lot has been made about athletes and their supposed duty to be good role models for the youth of society.  With sports heroes being arrested for drunk driving, domestic abuses, and sometimes even more violent crimes, you cannot look to the sporting world for guidance in being upstanding citizens.
 
So I guess that leaves television and movies, right?  Parents these days seem to be so uninvolved in their kids’ lives that the television has become a pseudo-babysitter.  But for you parents, be wary– there are traps out there.  Shows that seem to promote theories of hard work and responsibility might really be elaborate shell games.  Let me offer one from my childhood:
 
From 1984-1993 a television show aired on the Disney Channel and was clearly the precursor to current hits like Hannah Montana.  Of course, I am speaking of “KIDS Incorporated.” 
 
For those of you who may not be familiar, “KI” was a show featuring talented kids as young as 8 and ranging up to the mid-teens who had formed a band called “KIDS Incorporated” that regularly played at the local malt shop and dealt with typical young kid and early teen issues.  Nothing too heavy, but entertaining.  And the show prided itself on its realism; its singers could really sing, its dancers really danced, and its musicians could really play their instruments.  As the stars got too old, they were replaced with new stars and the show continued on seamlessly.
 
And these were some talented kids– some stars of the show who you might recognize include Jennifer Love Hewitt, Mario Lopez (“Saved By The Bell”), Martika (“Toy Soldiers”) and, perhaps most famous of all, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas. 
 
Sounds harmless, right?  Don’t be fooled.  I don’t think they were really incorporated.  I checked with the Secretary of State and there is no evidence that a bunch of kids filed Articles of Incorporation calling themselves, “KIDS Incorporated.” 
 
This is the problem with society today.  Kids are taught it is ok to cut corners.  My guess is that they got their first gig after playing the Lipschitz Bar Mitzvah and maybe a Quinceanera and figured that they might need to graduate to a big time name that would give them some legitimacy.  Why not throw an INC after their name?
 
So they use this name but they never filed Articles of Incorporation.  Ok, fine.  But did they file a fictitious business name statement or maybe even trademark the name?  I couldn’t find any evidence of it.
 
Let’s assume that they did have a quasi-corporation; there was never an episode that showed the tense board meetings in which it was decided what songs to sing or how much to pay the back-up dancers.  Who ran this corporation anyways?  The band was always made up of 5 individuals, 2 boys and 3 girls.  Had stock been issued to show that the corporation was owned primarily by the girls?  Might have had an impact on whether they qualified for government contracts. 
 
Or consider this — what happened when someone left the band?  Did the rest of the group purchase the departing member’s stock?  Did they have some kind of Buy-Sell Agreement in place to address these issues?  Or maybe the corporation redeemed the stock.  Did they even consider the tax ramifications of a stock redemption as opposed to a stock purchase? 
 
And I swear I saw the band members being paid in cash, or as we might say, “under the table.”  Did they pay taxes on these earnings?  You never saw the bank members meet with their financial advisors or attorneys.  Did they have any insurance to take care of their dancers and musicians?  It is not unrealistic to anticipate that dancers might pull muscles or musicians might get blisters or carpal tunnel syndrome.  Was anything done to deal with this?  I doubt they could have been considered independent contractors, rights?
 
So when the dancer who falls off the stage because the lights were too bright and breaks his ankle and can never dance again, do the band members expect that since they called themselves KIDS “Incorporated” that the corporate veil would protect them?
 
Be careful, be careful, be careful.  Do you want your kids to be educated in such a haphazard and irresponsible way?  We MUST teach our kids right.  We MUST teach them the importance of using the proper business entity.  We MUST teach them that stock ownership is something to take seriously and not to play around with willy-nilly.  We MUST teach them to fear and respect the corporation.
 
As a parent, I am appalled and disgusted and will never let my daughter watch such filth.  We will just stick to the CSI shows instead to get our realism.
 
This week, be responsible about the lessons you teach to the youth of our community.
 
Rob

 

www.ahslawyers.com

 

www.robcohen13.wordpress.com

 
   

 

PS  If you would like to see reprints of any of my emails, you may find them on my blog website at www.robcohen13.wordpress.com.  Also, be a daredevil and forward this to a friend if you think he/she might enjoy it.
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