This is an addition to the 2 FAQ’s I posted a while back. I wanted to add a timeline for those of you who are following the case… I hope this timeline helps.
2009. My band edibleRed is signed to Select Records, touring Holland and on foreign MTV outlets. We hold bass player auditions. The band leader who hired me for the the PINK Tribute Band years later auditions. I do not see him or speak to him again until 2013.
edibleRed breaks up, I start working as a strictly for-hire singer.
I see an ad on Craigslist for a pro level P!NK Tribute Band. I send my links.
A day later, I get a Facebook Message from the band leader, who I have not spoken to in 6 years. I don’t recognize him right away until he refreshes my memory. He tells me he is starting a P!NK Tribute Band with his friend Chuck and said he showed Chuck my videos. He asks me if I will take the gig. I say yes, assuming that both partners have given me the green light.
A few days later, he tells me Chuck wants to “keep looking” but that I’m “welcome to audition”. He will send me the audition songs in a couple of weeks. I hear nothing. At this point, I’m no longer interested, but play along as a courtesy.
Band leader tells me Chuck is out of the band and offers to put a band around me playing P!NK Songs, edibleRed songs and covers. I decline.
Band leader contacts me to tell me he is auditioning drummers for the P!NK Tribute Band. He asks if I can come down to provide vocals for the auditions and offers to pay me. I accept only because it is a paid job with no long term commitment.
I’m asked to keep coming back for paid rehearsals. A few weeks later, Im asked to become a full on band member and split expenses. I decline and state I can be involved only if I am getting paid. I am told he will keep me on as long as he has the budget to pay me. It is understood I am not a band member.
The band leader starts publicly insulting his former bandmate on Facebook. I can’t have my name attached to this and start working on my exit plan. After each rehearsal, I speak to the band leader about finding future replacements/understudies, telling him I could leave town on a tour at any moment. I try to exit gracefully as I do not want to also be blasted on social media.
In March 2014, My name is CC’d on a cease and desist letter for the band name “Reservoir Dogs”. It comes from Chuck’s law firm. It states if we perform under that name, we risk years of jail time, tax liens, seized assets and frozen bank accounts. This is the first I’m hearing of Chuck still wanting to have a P!NK Tribute Band, as I was under the impression he gave up on the idea. I’m completely creeped out that this stranger found my address.
Band leader changes band name to “Funhouse” to appease Chuck, so both bands can peacefully coexist in the marketplace (Since Chuck can’t legally stop someone from forming a tribute band).
A few weeks later, Chuck sends us the same cease and desist letter for “Funhouse”. Upon further research, I find he applies for the trademark one day after sending the cease and desist letter.
In other news, Construction starts on my rent stabilized apartment building and will go on for months. My landlord and I have breakfast, we speak about a buyout (which benefits both of us, since he can triple the rent and I can buy my first home). I retain a lawyer. The figure he mentions is enough to buy a condo in Harlem or a house if I leave New York. I start shopping for my new home.
I decide to play one show with The P!NK Tribute Band and then encourage them to replace me. I’m relieved to see a potential replacement that looks exactly like P!NK at the last rehearsal before the show. Then I get served with papers along with the bandleader and the guitar player.
I get sued at that rehearsal for $10,000,000 2 days before the show. I’m told by my lawyer I can’t take a buyout while I am in litigation. I perform the show and I am served again at my home two days later. I quit the band for good and state that the band leader should not contact me under any circumstances as long as I am in litigation.
I sign a memorandum of law stating I’m out of the band and will never own any name involving a P!NK Tribute Band. I make it clear I had no ties to the band leader, other then being an employee. The content of the 112 page complaint is unbelievably offensive… has many false statements made against me plus plenty of insults that have no place in a legal document written by a public servant. It states that I never had a record deal… which demonstrates that Chuck did zero research on me. Opinions I gather from other public servants around the world state that the complaint was 112 pages long solely to make it too expensive to fight. There are allegations with fancy names like “Conspiracy for Fraud”.
I miss a filing extension because the band leader tells me he will answer for me (I didn’t know that wasn’t allowed having no experience with the legal system). My buyout lawyer volunteers to file for a motion to dismiss so we can proceed with the buyout. He asks Chuck for an extension. Because Chuck is representing himself, he declines, mentions the possibility of a second lawsuit against me because the band leader is insulting him on Facebook. He states it is because of his former bandmates actions that I am in the unenviable position of being in his crosshairs. He states if I think getting sued once is inconvenient, I’ll certainly hate a second lawsuit against me because of the actions of the bandleader .
I am encouraged to go to the press. I don’t want to and I keep waiting it out, assuming the judge will see the case and how stupid it is and throw it out. Two months in I have to. At this point, I’m told I could be in the legal system for years. My legal fees are up to $3,000 at this point. The projected long term legal bills are in the mid 5 figures.
I consult with a high profile former VH1 executive about my situation. I don’t want to go to the press but I see no way out. He gives me a pep talk.After a couple of glasses of wine, I call the New York Post at 10:30PM hoping to leave a message. A guy from the mail room happens to be eating lunch at the “tip line” desk. He is riveted by the story and pitches it.
A reporter named Lia calls me. Another reporter named Kevin comes to my house. Byron Smith comes over to take photos and video of me singing. They ask extensive questions about the case (It is basically a dispute between two men.) They ask me extensive questions about my career and the show.
June 9th, I wake up to see what appears to be a poorly photoshopped photo of me with the caption “Singer Sued for Being Too Old and Too Ugly for P!NK Tribute Band”. in the New York Post. They give the impression that it was my alleged terrible performance at Napper Tandy’s that sparked the $10,000,000 lawsuit… which is not true at all. The derogatory comments that Chuck made about my Youtube videos are presented as comments from my performance at Napper Tandys. The story blows up and goes viral worldwide. I am defamed all around the globe. My online reputation, which once showcased me as a serious professional with international credits, is destroyed.
The second it goes public, Chuck wants out of the case. He says he’ll drop the case and wants to issue a gag order. At this point I have been defamed worldwide and traumatized. I insist that he pays my legal fees in full and offers damages on top of it, which is a given. His counter offer is to pay half my legal fees. Insulted, I decline. I can’t take his offer and respect myself. A gag order would be career suicide for me as there is false information about me in major media outlets, due to being forced into this situation.
Instead of buying my first home, I live in construction for months. I can’t feel emotions as I am in a state of shock from the events. I disassociate from reality, trying to get through each day. I stop auditioning, lose interest in social activities and can’t go out in public. I study the legal system obsessively as it is the only thing I can do. I sleep about 3 hours a day thanks to stress and construction. I fall 5 months behind in rent.
I also now have to come up with legal fees since there is no buyout anymore. I go online and raise $3200. It is a full time job and the only thing I do for weeks.
Chuck loses the preliminary injunction. The courts state there is no contract, and no evidence to support his claims. I can now take a buyout, but end up in housing court instead, as the psychological damage of the lawsuit has caused me to fall behind on rent. Even my landlord’s office is appalled at what have been through. Although they are moving forward with the eviction process, they are sympathetic and tell me that it is the craziest story they have ever heard in their years of dealing in New York real estate. My landlord’s rep tells me at every court date that she is actually rooting for me and tells me to “think positive thoughts”. Completely touched by this unexpected moment of humanity, I do. It actually works.
I start working with The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York to work on “Collette’s Law” to change the legal system so this can’t happen to anyone else. I get stonewalled by the local senators and council people. The New York Post reports that Sheldon Silver is personally blocking my bill.
By some miracle, I book a jingle gig for a national toy brand and pay back over %80 of my back rent. I start online therapy and learn about Acute Stress Disorder from my therapist which describes the first 5 months of my ordeal.
Because Chuck lost the preliminary injunction I take my buyout. It is less then a third of it’s original value, thanks to housing court and the circumstances leading up to it. I can feel emotions again and it is very debilitating.
The building gets sold and I have to wait another month. At this point, all I can do is sleep day in and day out. I’m exhausted by this entire ordeal. I consider checking into a mental health center for PTSD, but I can’t perform simple tasks, like organizing phone calls, filling out paperwork or making appointments. I start blogging instead. Everyday. Its the only thing I can do.
My buyout is enough to pay my legal fees, pay off the massive debt I accrued thanks to being dragged into the legal system and I record an album.
I move to Bushwick intending to move to Austin soon after. I stay in Bushwick and record “42”, my solo debut album. I notice that I live near Stockholm Street. I start having fun again and start enjoying life again. Randomly a DJ who lives in Stockholm messages me on Facebook. He heard me on a track I did for Celemony Software on Youtube.
I fly to Stockholm to shoot a music video with Shahruhk and reconnect with my former publicist in Holland. I start doing guest vocals for different producers in Europe. Slowly but surely my career starts reviving. Things are looking up until…
I get a new legal bill I wasn’t expecting. I put my album on hold as my budget for finishing it is now gone and going to legal fees instead. I start a new fundraiser. At this point my legal fees are up to $12,000. I can’t believe the legal system allows this and I ponder moving out of the country once thesis over. I start experiencing extreme anger again. The healing that was taking place over the summer reverses. I’m booking work slowly, but my reputation online is very ,such destroyed.
Sheldon Silver goes to jail for corruption. My case is now being cited as a textbook example of an abusive lawsuit and is being tied to a highly scandalous political situation in Abany.
Folks, I didn’t sign up for this! All I want to do is rock out, get paid and enjoy my life!! WTF??!!! Anyway, I hope this answers some of the questions you have had:)