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Ticket Agencies Pay Homeless To Stand in Line for Concert Tickets

January 14, 1996

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Many loyal Bruce Springsteen fans who lined up for concert tickets over the weekend were out of luck after ticket agencies paid 100 homeless people to camp out for tickets.

The homeless lined up Friday night and bought most of the $30 tickets when they went on sale Saturday morning. By Saturday night, ticket agencies were reselling them for as much as $400.

``I think it’s wrong because I don’t think the homeless people understand how bad they’re being used,″ attorney Steve Boney, who waited for tickets Friday, told the Austin-American Statesman. ``I think he (Springsteen) would be sick if he saw this.″

A major theme of Springsteen’s latest release, ``The Ghost of Tom Joad,″ is life on the streets.

But Kent Taylor, the Showtime Tickets owner who hired 50 homeless people to buy as many tickets as they could, said he doesn’t feel guilty. He gave people a chance to make $50.

``Everybody has a fair chance to be the first ones in line,″ said Taylor, who said he hires the homeless about twice a month. ``It’s easier to round up homeless people. They’re more flexible than people who work.″

For Augustine Trevino and his friend Alfred Raymond Coleman, standing in line is easy money.

``I was out of work anyway, and, really, a beggar can’t be a chooser,″ Trevino said.

Jay Hill, who works for Ticket City, said his company paid about five homeless people to stand in line for tickets.

``It’s free enterprise,″ he said. ``That’s what America is based on.″

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