Bringing the Loot 24/7
He's the bail bondsman of choice for jailed rap stars
By Tara Weingarten and Sarah Van Boven Newsweek Magazine Dec 1, 1997
ASK JOSH HERMAN IF HE CAN remember the mo ment he realized he was a success, and the burly 26-year-old doesn't hesitate. It was Feb 21 1996 the night he attended his client Snoop Doggy Dogg's party at Monty's restaurant in Los Angeles, a celebration of Snoop's acquittal on murder charges. Handed a bottle of Cristal champagne as he entered the rooftop eatery, the white boy straight outta middle-class West L.A. strolled over to chat with rapper Tupac Shakur and producer Suge Knight. Surveying the many rap stars munching on filet mignon and lobster, Herman realized, as he tells the tale, that "everyone in there was out on one of my bail bonds."
Among the cast of thousands of agents, attorneys, personal assistants and other staffers who keep L.A. celebrities in the money and out of trouble, Herman has created a lucrative role: bail bondsman to the hiphop stars. Even though rappers are less than half of his prosperous bond business, Herman has made more than $500,000 over the past few years springing the big names from jail, bundling them into his Mercedes (license plate; BAIL 4 u) and driving them straight to the studio or video set. He estimates he's posted bond for rap artists "at least 100 times," promising to pay the full bail if a client skips town--and pocketing 10 percent of that amount as his fee. Herman says he made $50,000 in commissions from Tupac alone; Shakur was out on one of Herman's bonds when he was kilied last year in Las Vegas.
by Michael Grecco
Kenner, who represents Death Row Records and supplies Herman with many of his celebrity clients, is impressed with Herman's work ethic. "He's there when you need him," says Kenner. Herman knows he has to be available 24/7: "If I'm at dinner and I get beeped, I'm leaving. If I'm out of the country, I'm coming home." And neither Josh nor his father sees any downside to spending so much time around accused felons. "I don't really worry too much about him," says Dad. "He's got a license to carry a concealed gun."
Besides, says Herman, having famous a customers gives him an advantage. While other bondsmen wait for calls from cons flipping through the Yellow Pages, Herman is beeped by record-company lawyers. And the best part (besides the parties) is that he doesn't have to worry about a client like Dr. Dre's fleeing the country and forfeiting Herman's bail money. For one thing, he says, "Where are they going to go and not be recognized?" Plus, "Snoop is probably worth $100 million to Death Row," he says. "That record company is going to make sure he's in that courtroom."
Newsweek Magazine December 1, 1997