Bickering Over the Gershwin Estate

MANHATTAN (CN) – A divorcing couple, both of whom own large shares of Gershwin Partners Inc., are at loggerheads in New York County Court. Urs Jakob sued his soon-to-be ex-wife, Suzanne Tremblay, in a derivative complaint on behalf of the Gershwin Partners.

     Jakob says Tremblay and codefendant Peter Eckert together own 51.4 percent of Gershwin Partners; Jakob says he owns more than 20 percent of it. He says Gershwin Partners issued 200 shares in 1992, of which 149 remain.
     Jakob says his wife and Eckert failed to monitor and control the corporation wasted its assets. He says they have refused his request to inspect the books for more than a year.
     Jakob himself, and his wife, were sued in a 2006 derivative complaint about the disposition of the 51 liquidated shares. During that litigation, Jakob says, Tremblay and Eckert unfairly ousted him from the Gershwin Partners board and entrenched Tremblay.
     Jakob wants an accounting, damages for breach of duty and conversion, and an order reinstating him to the board. He is represented by Mark Leibowitz.
     Composer George Gershwin, whose brother Ira wrote the lyrics for most of his songs, earned more royalties from his tunes than any other songwriter in history, the English newspaper The Guardian reported in 2005.
     The Gershwin copyrights have expired in the European Union and will expire in the United States by 2027.
     The Guardian did not estimate how much money the Gershwin estate was worth.
     Second on its “richest composers” list was “the waltz king” Johann Strauss II, followed by Giuseppi Verdi, Giacomo Rossini, Georg Friedrich Handel and Josef Haydn.
     However, since most of the composers – Gershwin included – earned most of their money after they were dead, The Guardian’s list is somewhat pointless.

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