Walter Becker Estate Responds to Donald Fagen Suit

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Donald Fagen and Walter Becker

Last week, Donald Fagen filed a lawsuit against the estate of his Steely Dan musical partner, Walter Becker, for complete ownership of the band’s name based on a Buy/Sell agreement that the pair had signed in 1972.

In addition to suing Becker’s widow–Delia Becker–and the estate, Fagen’s suit also named Steely Dan’s longtime business management firm Nigro, Karlin, Segal, Feldstein & Bolno (NKSFB). Fagen claims that NKSFB has been withholding information regarding royalty statements and tour revenue.

Becker died Sept. 3 of esophageal cancer.

Today (Nov. 27), a representative of Becker’s estate released the following statement:

“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.”

On the day of his passing, Fagen wrote a tribute to his decades-long music partner, which began: “Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967.” The note ended: “I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can, both with the Steely Dan band. We’ll miss him forever.”

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  1. Jack
    #1 Jack 28 November, 2017, 06:56

    Money……..definately brings out the worst in most people. Let’s hope the adults get a grasp on the situation before the music and their legacy is damaged too much.

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