Sleazy Dealings in New England and some better ideas…..

I suspect most people in the magic world are familiar with the charges that have been leveled against magic dealer Hank Lee and his New England based ‘Magic Factory.’ He pleaded guilty to the charges, which include (amongst other things) over 500,000 dollars worth of illegal credit card charges.

It is hard to believe from reports of the incident that this isn’t a tip of the iceberg to his dishonest dealings. Somehow he is being allowed to keep his store open and running while waiting for the sentencing of his case. Sweet deal.

I don’t plan to go into great details about the case (or peoples reactions to it) other than to suggest you Google and research it for yourself, it is a shabby and sickening business. I dealt with Hank for many years with no problem but a couple of years ago I was at the short end of a business transaction that made me decide to refrain from doing so in the future.

It wasn’t a grand, concerted, criminal case such as Lee just pleaded guilty too. It was just a $125 transaction that I really didn’t bother pursuing. Life is too short. I just decided not to continue my dealings with Hank. I want to make it VERY clear that this problem was with Hank Lee alone, and not with his staff in any way.

Now, Lee is apologizing and saying that he has instigated new policies to ensure the safety of his customer’s orders. Hard for me to buy that one! You were the problem Hank, and have pleaded guilty to unacceptable and dishonest behavior. Having read the published details of the case, I don’t think you deserve any renewal of trust within the magic world as a businessman.

An apology from someone who has allegedly (is it still alleged, when you plead guilty? I’m no lawyer so I will use the word) broken the law, doesn’t seem to amount to very much. Shame on you Harry P. Levy, I personally don’t accept your apologies and promises of a change of heart, after you have skidded away from this current situation so lightly.

There has been a vast change in the way buying and selling of magic is taking place, and I think most of it is a healthy thing. I deeply regret the extreme difficulties and expenses that face an old fashioned ‘brick and mortar’ magic store. They are becoming an endangered species and that is a loss to magicians everywhere.

Magic Shops were a wonderful place to meet and mix with other magicians and improve your knowledge and skills as a performer. However, as in so much retail purchasing, the Internet has changed the game forever, there are pros and cons involved but it is just the way things are moving. The good news is, there are wonderful people selling magic on the Internet now and doing so in a fast, efficient and honest manner.

Better still, is the fact that, individual magicians are selling individual and limited amounts of prized routines that are hand tested and real finds. Merely as an example, I recently bought ‘Restored Credit’ from David Regal over the Internet and it was a dream transaction. A great trick, at a fair price, paid for by the very secure Papal system and dispatched quicker than a scaled card by Jeff McBride!

The new Facebook page, ‘Magicians Surplus Props’ is dedicated to magicians seeking to buy, sell and trade magic props, and is another wonderful asset to the magic world. It is like a glorified digital swap meet! If you haven’t checked it out yet you should do so. Is the Internet medium open to fraud too? “In the words of Sarah Palin, “You betcha’…” but individuals can be held responsible and banished accordingly as incidents occur.

I admire and respect all the legitimate magic dealers around the world who sell us the tools of our trade in an authentic and honest manner. However, when we discover the bad apples in the pile, let’s expose and put out of business, those that are thieves—whether by barefacedly stealing our cash or by stealing other peoples intellectual property and making money from it dishonestly. For me, this last statement includes revealing marketed routines for free on YouTube.

~ by Nick Lewin on April 3, 2012.

2 Responses to “Sleazy Dealings in New England and some better ideas…..”

  1. Makes me think of the way Ken Brooke operated (the OPPOSITE of Mr. Lee). No dealer was more mindful or ethical than Ken.

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