Legal News: PBS and the Saints

Today at The Daily Kos, writer “Crashing Vor” wrote a blog post in support of PBS—Porter, Stoltz and Batiste—shining a little light on what little is in the public record about the suit between the band and its former management company, Highsteppin’ Productions.

For years, they have been playing together under the name of Porter.Batiste.Stoltz or PBS. During part of that time, they were under a management contract to Highsteppin’ Productions, LLC, a management company owned by Phil Stepanian.

Now, Stepanian is suing the trio for over half a million dollars, claiming unpaid expenses for which he has produced no receipts or accounting. He is going after the musicians’ homes, publishing and life works, including George’s share of the Meters catalog and Brian’s writers income from his days with the Nevilles. (For instance, Brian wrote Fearless, Aaron’s duet with Linda Ronstadt on the “Brothers Keeper” album). (There’s an ad at that video, so mute the beginning). Stepanian has also gained control of all P.B.S. income streams and released over two dozen unauthorized live albums of the band.

The Save PBS benefit is tonight at the Howlin’ Wolf.

In other legal news, Drew Brees didn’t hold his tongue when talking to Sports Illustrated‘s Jim Trotter. Brees suggests that the road to the current labor lockout started on August 20, 2008, when the then-head of the NFLPA Gene Upshaw died.

“Ever since Gene Upshaw passed away—I’m just going to lay it all out there—the owners saw blood in the water,” Brees said Wednesday after a players-organized workout at Tulane University. “They felt like, ‘This is our opportunity to take a significant piece of the [financial] pie back at all costs, a piece that we will never have to give back again. This is our chance, while they don’t have leadership, while they’re scrambling to find a new executive director. This is our time.’

“I can point to about five different things to prove to you that they were ready to lock us out. They opted out of the last year of the [CBA] deal; they hired Bob Batterman [who oversaw a lockout of NHL players]. They tried to take the American Needle case to the Supreme Court to basically give them an antitrust exemption or single-entity status, but were defeated 9-0; they established new TV deals to pay them in the event of a lockout, but we were able to put a freeze on that money because they did not negotiate in good faith and broke the law. And they had an internal NFL document that was leaked—a decision tree—that said smack dab in the middle of it ‘financial needs in a lockout.’ That was in 2008, OK? So you’re telling me that they had no plans to lock us out and really wanted to get a deal done? I don’t think so.”