(CN) – A man demands punitive damages from the New York Yankees, claiming his late uncle created the ball team’s famous Top Hat logo in 1936 – at the Yankees’ request – revised it in 1952, and never got a dime for it. Tanit Buday claims Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert acquired the logo through a manicurist, who was Buday’s aunt.
In his complaint in Manhattan Federal Court, Tanit Buday says his uncle, the late Kenneth Timur, of Brooklyn, created the Top Hat logo for Yankees owners Jacob Ruppert and Del Webb in 1936.
Timur was a graphic illustrator, calligrapher, cartoonist and an expert in heraldry, Buday says. Timur’s sister, Stella, was a manicurist, whose customers included Ruppert and Webb.
“In 1936, Mr. Ruppert told Stella that the Yankees needed someone with fresh ideas to create a new logo for the Yankees,” Buday says in his 17-page federal complaint, which includes 28 pages of attachments.
“Stella told Mr. Ruppert about her brother’s expertise. As a result, Timur was commissioned by Mr. Ruppert on behalf of the Yankees to create a logo.
As requested by the Yankees, Timur created a logo which incorporated the well known and recognized Top Hat and Bat …”
Buday says Stella gave Ruppert her brother’s logo, “and he accepted it on behalf of the Yankees. However, Timur receive no remuneration or recognition for his creation of this Yankees Top Hat Logo.”
Buday claims his uncle didn’t even know the Yankees were using his logo until he emigrated to New York City in 1947. He claims that in that year, “Mr. Webb, on behalf of the Yankees, commissioned Timur to revise the Yankees Top Hat Logo in anticipation of the fact that in 1952 the Yankees would celebrate 50 years based in New York City. Again Timur complied.”
Buday claims his aunt and uncle “had trust and confidence in the Yankees” and believed that this time, at least, “Timur would receive remuneration for his Yankees Top Hat Logo artwork.”
But it didn’t happen. Buday says that Timur, a man of “modest income,” could not afford to take on the Yankees to claim remuneration or credit for his designs. Timur did ask twice, in the 1950s, “for recognition and remuneration,” but the Yankees blew him off, Buday says. So, “With his limited resources, Timur was unable to pursue his claims against the rich and powerful Yankees.”
Buday says he has researched this issue since 1995. His documentation – included in the 28 pages of attachments – includes an analysis of the logo by an art expert.
Buday demands punitive damages for common-law copyright infringement, conversion, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and an accounting.
He is represented by Kevin Mulhearn of Orangeburg, N.Y.