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Walter Becker’s Estate Issues Statement On Donald Fagen’s Lawsuit

As always, there are two sides to every lawsuit, and the one filed by Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen against the estate of the late Walter Becker is no different.

Fagen filed suit last week over ownership of the name and trademark of Steely Dan due to a contractual agreement back when the band formed in the early seventies that states if either Fagen or Becker quit or died, the remaining band member would purchase the departed member’s various shares in the name.

The Estate of Walter Becker, however, is refuting that agreement and issued 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.”

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.