The talent search and touring group known as Ohio Idol is getting mixed reviews from former employees, contestants and current employees. It appears that firestorm of complaints has led owner Steve Wise to tell Chillicothe Clear Channel News that "Ohio Idol will go out of business as of midnight this Saturday". That comment was made Thursday morning before 11am, then Mr. Wise called News Director Mike Smith Thursday afternoon to clarify his intentions.
Wise says those who are registered for the "current season 3", will still compete in the Top 10 finale slated for early August. He continued by saying, "the Ohio Idol website will be closed as of midnight Saturday, July 12th, which means there will be no Season Four".
When asked for the reason as to why he was making this decision, Wise responded with "no comment".
Former Ohio Idol Manager and Emcee Jami Kinton says owner Steve Wise was never interested in the contestants or others, but was only interested in making money. She believes Wise also misrepresented what he claimed he would provide those participating in the competition and to those who were declared winners. Kinton left Ohio Idol midway through season two.
Season One winner Abby Boland claims she was fired during the tour, but Wise says she was paid her entire $10,000 prize money, but was let go because she was failing to appear for rehearsals.
Season Two winner Greg Cooley claims he was not paid all his prize money, but Wise says Cooley was paid half of his money up front, then Cooley quit during the season. Cooley denies that he quit, but said he fulfilled his contract.
Wise says the season two contract was changed to spread payments out to make sure the talent appeared at the tour events. Both Wise and Cooley provided numerous texts and emails that made a case for each of their points of contention.
Ohio Idol problems have included lawsuits claiming Wise failed to pay Season One Ohio Idol judges and Westerville Central Schools, which served as a host site for a competition. The Season One judges settled out of court with Wise, while Westerville Central School confirmed they won a $6,900 judgment for Wise's failure to pay rental. Wise says he is looking at an appeal of the Westerville School decision, claiming the school scheduled two other events at the same time he was contracted to use the building and did not provide him with a sound system. He says he believes he did owe the school money, but not the amount the district was awarded by the court judge.
However, former contestant and current Ohio Idol Manager Condrea Webber has been with the group since it's inception, and says much of this has been a misunderstanding, including things that Westerville Schools didn't live up to, concerning their commitment to Ohio Idol.
Columbus based events such as Red, White and Boom and the Ohio State Fair have pulled out of agreements with Ohio Idol due to the complaints that surfaced from others.