St. Helens staff, talent agency and third party person negotiate new agreement for 'Halloweentown' actor to appear despite previous news she would not be coming

SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Actor Kimberly Brown takes a quick photo while on the steps of the historic Columbia County Courthouse during Spirit of Halloweentown festivties in 2017.Actor Kimberly Brown will return to St. Helens for a one-day appearance on Oct. 13.

After a series of released email records revealed that Brown would not be returning after a request for greater compensation by Brown's talent agency, all signs pointed to the actor, who starred in the 1998 Disney TV movie "Halloweentown," not appearing at this year's festivities.

Late last week, however, a Scappoose man offered to smooth over negotiations to see if Brown would return on the 20th anniversary of the film's release.

On Monday, Sept. 17, St. Helens Mayor Rick Scholl noted they were close to working out a deal with Brown to appear this year. And on Wednesday, Sept. 19, city event planner Tina Curry publicly confirmed the appearance date.

Email records, released by the city of St. Helens indicate Brown's agency, Gemstone Talent, had somewhat of a falling out with Curry earlier this year when relationships between Curry, the St. Helens Economic Development Corp. and specific board members of the merchants nonprofit group soured.

Those same email records showed the city was concerned Gemstone was requesting a fee guarantee of $30,000, plus a 15 percent broker fee, and other expenses including first-class airfare this year, which the City Council deemed to be too great of a financial investment and risk.

Scholl noted earlier this week, the new figure being proposed in the new agreement is closer to what Brown was originally being paid.

City Administrator John Walsh said the new contract contains an exclusivity clause so that no other competing events with the celebrity can be planned, which was not in place last year. The new agreement does contain a similar confidentiality clause that keeps Brown's financial compensation secret. Walsh said that while the City Council and city staff know the figure, it's not publicly disclosable due to the agreement.

Craig Marquardo, a Scappoose property manager, said he stepped in to help mediate and rekindle the negotiations for Brown to return this year. Marquardo, who said he has some experience in the media industry, noted that each side involved made mistakes in the process, and said he saw the situation as fixable.

City staff and council members pointed out that Marquardo is not involved in the contracts directly and stepped in as more of a mediator after speaking with City Councilor Ginny Carlson last week.

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