Walter Becker Estate Responds To Donald Fagen’s Lawsuit

first_imgLast week, Donald Fagen filed a lawsuit against the estate of his late bandmate Walter Becker, who died earlier this year, over the rights to continue to use the name Steely Dan for performances. Fagen also filed a suit against Steely Dan’s management firm, alleging that the firm has been withholding records from him.Today, a representative of Walter Becker’s estate provides a statement regarding Donald Fagen’s lawsuit, expressing their disappointment. Read the full statement below.“We were disappointed to learn that Donald Fagen commenced a lawsuit against (the estate of) Walter Becker, his partner of 50 years, on the eve of Thanksgiving. We believe the agreement to which Mr. Fagen refers in his suit — drafted 45 years ago— was not in effect at the time of Walter’s death.Mr. Fagen’s lawsuit, riddled with half-truths and omissions, misleadingly fails to state that the day after Walter died, Mr. Fagen had his lawyer send a demand letter to Walter’s estate, thus beginning a legal campaign against Walter’s family immediately after his death. The misrepresentation that his widow, Ms. Cioffi initiated any litigious action is simply untrue. In our view, Mr. Fagen is unfairly trying to deprive Walter’s family of the fruits of their joint labors.Since Walter’s passing, we have endeavored to achieve a compromise with Mr. Fagen. We were close to a resolution with his longtime counsel who he suddenly fired. We then negotiated in good faith with replacement counsel who Mr. Fagen also fired. Mr. Fagen’s third and current lawyer did not even attempt to contact us prior to filing a lawsuit.While we regret Mr. Fagen’s latest actions, we will vigorously defend against his unwarranted and frivolous case.”As The Hollywood Reporter previously outlined of Fagen’s actions,“At the center of the lawsuit is a 1972 Buy/Sell Agreement signed by the original bandmembers when Steely Dan was incorporated. According to the complaint, which was filed Tuesday in L.A. County Superior Court, the contract provides that whenever a member of the group quits or dies Steely Dan purchases all of that members shares in the group.By the 2010s, Fagen and Becker were the only remaining shareholders and signatories to the Buy/Sell Agreement,” writes attorney Louis “Skip” Miller in the complaint. ‘Four days after Becker’s death, on September 7, 2017, the Becker Defendants sent Fagen a letter stating that ‘We wanted to put you on notice that the Buy/Sell Agreement dated as of October 31, 1972 is of no force or effect.’”The letter sent to Fagen by Becker’s estate also asked that Becker’s widow receive 50% ownership of and become an officer of Steely Dan. Fagen has claimed that the Becker estate currently has control of Steely Dan’s official website, with the estate of the late Steely Dan guitarist refusing to give him access or any control of the site. Fagen is seeking a million dollars in damages and hoping that the court will arrive at the decision that Fagen, following Becker’s passing, is the sole owner of the Steely Dan name.last_img read more