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The name game



Imagine you are poor, beleaguered Lou Pearlman. You look like Jiminy Glick. You've inflicted a lot of really bad music on the world and someday, by god, you'll have to answer for it. You've made a lot of money, but there are persistent rumors that your empire is really a house of cards. And the damn media won't leave you and your skuzzy talent-scouting agency alone. Investigations into this, inquiries into that, bitter (and pretty!) clients showing up everywhere from NBC's "Dateline" to Jane magazine. Jane, fer chrissakes. What's next, a three-part investigation on Nickelodeon? (Obligatory horn tooting: Orlando Weekly beat them all. We spanked Pearlman months ago [Lou's next move, Oct. 17.] )

Yes sir, these days it sucks to be Big Lou. But whaddya gonna do?

Change your company's name, that's what.

The state Attorney General's Office is still after Trans Continental Talent for unfair and deceptive trade practices, due to the fact that thousands of people sign up for TCT's services but no one seems to get work from it. But now they'll have change the name on their dossier to Wilhelmina Scouting. Pearlman, bless his heart, went and merged with a really big fish in the modeling industry in March. Faster than you can say "skin peel," Big Lou's got a shiny new rep in the biz.

If you're keeping score, Wilhelmina Scouting is at least name No. 5 for this upstanding outfit. First it was Studio 58, then eModel, Options Talent and Trans Continental Talent. Each prior permutation did basically the same thing: prey on model/actor wannabees who really don't know how the business works, selling them what amounts to a website with their picture on it. TCT has always claimed it isn't "selective," in other words anyone can, and does, use their services. So you see, there's no guarantee that you'll be discovered or anything. But keep those checks coming because you just never know. The world is chock full of silly people.

TCT is also under investigation in California. And the Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly quite interested in the fact that the company has two ex-cons -- Cortes Randell and Alec Defrawy -- listed as "consultants" on recent SEC filings. Randell went to prison twice on fraud charges, while Defrawy spent time in the cooler for bank- and wire-fraud charges. We asked Big Lou about Randell the last time we talked to him, in October: "Cortes is no longer working here," he said back then.

Now we must conclude that Big Lou wasn't being entirely honest with us. And, frankly, that hurts a little.