Bill Graham estate still in the courts
Artists , Probate / May 2012

PROBATE Artistes, merchandise David Graham and Alexander Graham-Sult, the sons of the late rock impresario Bill Graham, who accused their father’s executor Nicholas Clainos, former president of Bill Graham Enterprises,  of cheating them out of millions of dollars’ worth of music memorabilia  have been ordered instead to pay more than $500,000 in legal fees by a judge who found their suit meritless. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled in June 2011 that the alleged fraud was actually an above-board transaction that had been disclosed to the sons’ lawyer in 1997. She also said the suit was filed more than a decade too late. Now Judge Wilken has ordered Graham’s sons to pay $146,000 to Clainos, $240,000 to a law firm that had represented Graham’s estate, and $138,000 to the Bill Graham Archives, another defendant in their lawsuit. The Judge said that the suit had no chance of success and targeted Clainos’ legally protected actions as Graham’s executor. The sons have now asked the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn her ruling, arguing in court papers that they were “victims of a cynical, fraudulent scheme”  to deprive them of the memorabilia including 100 sets of original posters of such…

Ray Charles’ Foundation takes on his children
Probate / May 2012

PROBATE Artistes The Ray Charles Foundation is taking legal action against a number of the late soul star’s children, claiming that they have reneged on an agreement reached with their father before he died in 2004 regarding his estate, by attempting to reclaim ownership of the copyright in some of the songs he wrote by using US copyright law provisions that say that works may be reclaimed after 35 years (for works written after the law was passed, longer for works that already existed). The Foundation says, prior to his death, all of the soul singer’s children agreed to forego any future claims to their father’s estate in return for becoming beneficiaries of a $500,000 trust. The remainder of Charles’s estate, including future income from his copyrights, was left to the Foundation, which supports research and education programmes for the hearing impaired, as well as youth education initiatives. The Foundation says that the children have no right to try and reclaim control of the copyrights in their father’s songs. The Foundation’s lawsuit also claim Charles entered into a new deal with his publisher in 1980 involving a number of works, which used up his ‘one time claim back’ option anyway…