As someone who books musicians professionally, its a difficult spot to be in. I've been in the positions where major institutions (jewish and non) have asked me to front all the expenses for a traveling group. Then the client mistakenly hands the check to the band after the event which includes all the expenses (it should be sent to my office for disbursement and records). The act gets all bent out of shape because they think you're cheating them and so does the client! Often, an agent has to reduce his commission just to make the sale, so you get 'hit' on both sides of the equation.Here's another story.
There's nothing wrong with someone making a commission as long as their role as an agent or shidduch maker is understood. In Part VI, it isn't, and its further muddied by the dude's employment by the school. You were right to suspect something, but you should have kept the money- he was repeatedly getting you at "discounted" rates that you had every right to keep.
A number of years ago, a fellow musician called to book me for a fundraising dinner he was organizing for an institution he worked for. The gig was going to be on a busy Sunday in June and I was reluctant to take the gig because I had expectations of booking my own band for that date. Given budget constraints, he wasn't able to book my band, and instead he was piecing together a band on his own. So, I turned it down. After calling around and discovering that no one was available, he called me back and begged me to take the job. Feeling sympathetic, I took the gig as a favor to him. Then, a few weeks later, he asked me to help him find musicians who might be available, because all the guys he'd called were already working. So, I helped him staff the band at no extra charge. In the end, the event was very successful and the response to the music was very positive.
I wound up making less than I otherwise would have had I booked my own band and I also passed up the opportunity to perform under my own name. Any gigs that came out of this went to him, as he'd put up his own bandstand.
Flash forward to the next year. The organization decided to have their dinner on short notice on an off weeknight. I got in from a gig one night to find a message from this musician asking if I was available to play the dinner in two weeks. So, I called him the next morning, only to be told that he'd already hired someone else. He hadn't waited for me to return the call.
Given that I'd done him (and the organization) a favor the previous year, and the fact that he was obviously willing to have me back, as evidenced by his message, do you think his giving the job to somone else was fair?
Previous posts on the subject...
Blog in Dm: "You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part I
Blog in Dm: "You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part II
Blog in Dm: "You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part III
Blog in Dm: "You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part IIII
Blog in Dm: "You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part V
Blog in Dm: "You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part VI (To Catch A Thief!)