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Jewish Scholar Sues Foundation for $600,000

CHICAGO (CN) - A professor of Jewish music sued the Posen Foundation, a Swiss nonprofit, claiming it owes him $600,000 for his work on an anthology of Jewish music.

Neil Levin sued the Posen Foundation, Felix Posen and James Young in Federal Court.

Levin describes himself in the lawsuit as a professor of Jewish music who has taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America for 30 years.

He has been editor-in-chief of the Milken Archive of Jewish Music, and editor of Musica Judaica, the academic Journal of the American Society for Jewish Music. He also wrote a radio series on Jewish music hosted by "Star Trek" actor Leonard Nimoy, and directed a professional Jewish chorus.

"It was Professor Levin's experience, expertise and international reputation and his work for The Milken Archive that made defendants desire him to lead the integration of music into The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization," the complaint states.

The Posen Library is funded by the Posen Foundation, a private foundation that supports Jewish secular culture and education in Israel.

Levin claims the Posen Library and its founder, Felix Posen, agreed to pay him based on his prior services for the Milken Archive, which paid him $300,000 a year.

In 2008, Levin says, he began working on an anthology of Jewish music for the Posen Library, a project for which he submitted more than 900 entries, and a bibliography of 576 entries.

But the Posen Library "concealed from him how little space was really available for his work product," Levin claims.

In addition, he says, it "kept secret from him" that only 40 of his 900 entries would be included in the final volume.

Levin says that when he was told of the massive cuts to his work, he told the library he did not want his name used in association with the volume.

And he said the organization was not welcome to use his entries until he had been paid for his time on all 900 entries.

Levin claims the Posen Library published the work without paying him what it owed.

"Defendant did not have permission to reprint the extract of Professor Levin's own original essay (the Hatikva essay) or any of the other work he had done for the library until Professor Levin had been paid fully and appropriately and until he would have given his permission to use and reprint his Hatikva article. He has not been paid yet," he says in the lawsuit.

Levin claims that the value of "his two and one-half years (October 2008 - May 2011) of professional scholarly services rendered to defendant Foundation is $498,800, calculated at 1,247 hours @ $400, plus travel time at one-half his hourly rate equal to $67,200, plus reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses of $33,508.03, for a grand total of $599,508.03."

He alleges breach of contract, copyright infringement and fraud.

He is represented by Alan Miller, of Highland Park.


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