In the early ’90s, post-punk-funk outfit ESG put out the Sample Credits Don’t Pay Our Bills EP, a dig at the artists who had used the group’s beats on their records without paying up. We thought of that EP title when reading about a recent New York City Transit Authority investigation, which revealed that some of ESG drummer Valerie Scroggins’ bills last year may have been paid through less ethical means:
It was a picture-perfect bust.
Valerie Scroggins, the drummer for acclaimed art-funk ensemble ESG, autographed CDs and posed for photos with fans during a concert tour in Europe last year.
But one of the fans turned out to be an investigator for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Scroggins, an NYC Transit bus driver receiving workers’ compensation for shoulder injuries, was nabbed.
Scroggins, 44, was indicted yesterday by a Brooklyn grand jury on charges of taking more than $13,000 in workers’ compensation, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said.
Three other transit workers also were charged and are awaiting indictment for allegedly receiving compensation for injuries they never sustained or grossly exaggerated, Hynes said.
“They all signed documents that said they were unable to work,” said Hynes, playing a video of a concert featuring Scroggins whipping through the drums. “She told us she was unable to work between September 2006 and January. But she was playing around Europe with a rock band.”
While Scroggins’ lawyer claims that her client’s shoulder was, in fact, injured, ESG’s sets in Europe were reportedly an hour long, and the Brooklyn DA, who reviewed tapes of the shows, said that the band was, in fact, “pretty good.” That may be good news for the band’s future ticket sales, but it’s probably not so great for future court costs.