MINOR OFFENCE(S)?

Lou Pearlman who also launched the Backstreet Boys, is accused of violating Florida laws over child labour...

LOU PEARLMAN, the boyband hitmaker who launched the careers of Backstreet Boys and N Sync, is under investigation in FLORIDA over violations of the state’s child labour laws.

The mother of two members of Take 5, a failed boyband he attempted to put together several years ago, claims Pearlman violated more than a dozen sections of Florida’s statutes dealing with minors working in the entertainment industry.

Merrily Goodell alleges in a complaint lodged against the impresario that Pearlman violated rules prohibiting minors from working more than six consecutive days, from working no earlier than 7am and no later than 11:30pm, and requiring that parents be notified of their children’s activities.

Associated Press reports that she accuses Pearlman of violating the terms for receiving a state permit allowing minors to work in the entertainment industry. A permit can be denied if work conditions are “hazardous or detrimental to the health, morals or education” of the minors. Pearlman has strenuously denied the claims.

“It sounds like someone has it in for us,” he said. “It’s just preposterous.”

“Merrily Goodell is obviously fishing for something, whether it’s money or whether she’s jealous or upset that her boys didn’t become rich and famous like some of the other bands Lou has worked with,” Trans Continental Records vice president Scott Bennett added.

Pearlman said his company and two record companies spent more than $2 million in advances, recording costs, wardrobe, education, meals and travel trying to build the group.

Merrily Goodell, whose sons Ryan and Clay were in Take 5, claims Pearlman “horribly exploits and manipulates young people”.

Another member claimed the boys had to be sent baby food by their parents to boost their protein intake as Pearlman didn’t give them enough money for groceries.

Both the Backstreet Boys and N Sync split acrimoniously with Pearlman. In lawsuits filed several years ago to get out of his control, they accused him of deception and of cheating them out of money.