Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nina Simone: new law battle

Nina Simone's Daughter Sues Late Mom's Ex
by Dan McCue - Courthouse News Service

December 6, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO -- The daughter of jazz great Nina Simone asked a Federal Court to intervene in the sale of master recordings and personal effects of her late mother, by the singer's ex-husband, and to award the estate the items' assessed value of $155 million.

Lisa Simone Kelly, administrator of the Estate of Nina Simone, has been involved in litigation with the ex-husband, Andrew B. Stroud, since 2008. That litigation revolves around the ownership of the items that are part of the new lawsuit.

Kelly claims that on Oct. 17 she learned that Stroud had "sold" the recordings and materials, including "intimate, personal, unpublished diaries and other personal property," to a third party, defendant Wally Roker, founder and owner of ICU Ent. Dist., otherwise known as Wally Roker Music.

"Notwithstanding the 'terms' of the purported agreement between Roker and ASI, no consideration whatsoever was paid in exchange for the NSM [Nina Simone Masters and Materials] which are now in Roker's possession," Kelly claims.

"This sudden 'disposal' of property comes on the heels of an ongoing shell game manipulated by Stroud in order to move these assets -- presumably his most valuable asset -- first between and among himself and his various shell companies, and now to a third party: Roker.

"Upon information and belief, Stroud's initial 'transfer' of the NSM to ASI was fraudulent. Stroud has exercised such dominion and control over ASI that ASI has no separate will of its own. Stroud used his dominion and control of ASI to effect the fraudulent transfers of these valuable assets between them in order to frustrate plaintiff, a future judgment creditor.

"This court has already determined in the Stroud action that a viable cause of action has been asserted against Stroud that his possession of any and all NSM was the direct result of his wrongfully conversion of those items.

"At Stroud's direction, ASI's 'sale' of the NSM to Roker was done with the specific intent to once again defraud the Estate -- a probable judgment creditor -- and to further deplete any and all assets which the estate would be able to attach this rendering himself judgment proof."

"In fact, on November 21, 2011, Stroud declared, under oath, that he was aware that Mr. Roker did not have the funds, was and is in the process of seeking 'financing' to pay for the NSM, but Stroud caused ASI to transfer the material to him anyway," according to the complaint.

Kelly seeks a declaration that the materials are subject to the Stroud action and are improperly possessed by Roker. She seeks an accounting of the items and the imposition of a constructive trust, and $155 million for fraudulent transfer, misappropriation and conversion.

Kelly is represented by Dorothy Weber with Shukat, Arrow, Hafer, Weber and Herbsman.

Nina Simone's Daughter Sues Father Over Late Singer's Master Recordings
by Tim Kenneally - Reuters/TheWrap.com

December 6, 2011

Nina Simone's daughter is suing her father for $155 million, claiming that he improperly obtained and transferred ownership of numerous items belonging to the singing icon, including master recordings, personal writings, diaries, letters, photos and other personal possessions.

Lisa Simone Kelly, the administrator for Simone's estate, filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Northern California on Friday against Andrew B. Stroud, as well as his associate Wally Roker, to whom Stroud allegedly transferred Simone memorabilia.

Read the full lawsuit here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/74953621/Nina-Simone-Lawsuit

Stroud, who was married to Simone from 1961-71, also served as the singer's manager, agent and producer. Simone died in 2003, at the age of 70.

In the suit, Kelly maintains that Stroud transferred possession of the material to Roker at no cost in October, as part of "an ongoing shell game" to keep the items from Simone's estate -- the rightful owner, according to the suit.

The latest complaint is the newest installment in a protracted legal battle between Kelly and Stroud that began in 2008. A counter claim filed by Stroud against Kelly was dismissed in October -- after which, according to Kelly's suit, the transfer to Roker occurred as part of a "sham transaction" to prevent the estate from reclaiming the items.

The suit seeks a full accounting of the items in question, plus any proceeds, and all transfers and deposits involved in the defendants' bank accounts, plus a restraining order preventing Stroud and Roker from selling or otherwise financially profiting from the items in question.

Oh, and the suit is seeking $155 million in compensatory damages -- the amount that Stroud appraised the items at, according to the suit -- plus court costs, attorneys' fees and interest.

Roker has not yet responded to TheWrap's request for comment, nor has Kelly's attorney.

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