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Donald Fagen sues former bandmate’s estate over Steely Dan company

By | Published on Wednesday 22 November 2017

Steely Dan

The surviving member of Steely Dan – Donald Fagen – has sued the estate of his late bandmate Walter Becker in a dispute over the business side of the band.

In the lawsuit, Fagen says that in a 1972 agreement the band’s then members agreed that whenever someone died or quit the group, the remaining band members would have the right to buy that person out of the Steely Dan business. At the time of Becker’s death in September this year, only he and Fagen still had a stake in that entity.

However, according to the lawsuit filed in the LA County Superior Court this week, shortly after Becker’s passing, legal reps for his estate wrote to Fagen insisting that the so called ‘buy/sell agreement’ from 1972 is “of no force or effect”. The letter also requested that Becker’s widow become both a 50% shareholder in and director of the band’s business.

In his lawsuit, Fagen is seeking to enforce the buy/sell agreement, and also to get hold of the Steely Dan website, which is seemingly currently controlled by Becker’s people. He is also seeking paperwork from a firm that handled business affairs for the band, NKSFB, which is still apparently working for the Becker estate.

Fagen’s lawyer Louis ‘Skip’ Miller told The Hollywood Reporter: “This lawsuit is about a contract, the enforcement of that contract and the continuity of Steely Dan. We think the contract is very clear on its face and we hope this lawsuit is resolved expeditiously”.