SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – 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 Simon 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claims that on Oct. 17 she learned that Stroud had “sold” the recordings and materials, including “intimate, personal, unpublished diaries and other personal property,” to a third party, defendant Wally Roker, founder and owner of ICU Ent.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 & Herbsman.