(CN) - AtlanticPacific Entertainment says Duke Ellington's grandson backed out of a concert tour and coffee table book deal dedicated to the jazz legend's orchestral performances, after it had already paid him.
AtlanticPacific and principle Alan Flanzer claim in New York Supreme County Court that they began exploring the idea of producing a Duke Ellington tribute concert which they planned to expand into a tour if successful. After learning that Paul Ellington controlled the estates of both his father and famous grandfather through defendant Duke's Place LLC, they approached Ellington with the idea.
AtlanticPacific says Paul Ellington agreed to allow the use of the Duke's name and likeness to promote the concert. Duke's Place also agreed to have the Duke Ellington Orchestra's manager, non-party A.C. Lichtenstein, supply musical charts for the show, according to the complaint. AtlanticPacific agreed to pay Ellington $10,000 for his services tied to the concert, which also included Ellington filming backstage interviews during the event.
Flanzer says he also had the idea to produce a coffee table book to coincide with the event. Ellington allegedly agreed to supply photographs for the book.
"For the next several months, stretching through the summer, 2012, Plaintiffs Flanzer and AtlanticPacific devoted much time and energy on both the book and the event," the complaint states.
But AtlanticPacific says Ellington was just out for the money.
"During this period defendant Ellington, representing that he was in dire financial straits, repeatedly requested that plaintiffs Flanzer and AtlanticPacific not only pay him the monies due under the above listed agreements, but advance him sums against monies that might later be due under those same agreements."
AtlanticPacific claims there was "significant interest from several book publishers" surrounding the book, even though AtlanticPacific had to postpone the tribute concert to work on the project, according to the complaint.
Ellington supplied AtlanticPacific with more than 100 photos to be used in the book, but he also allegedly handed them over to his sister, non-party Mercedes Ellington, who "compromised" the interest by submitting the photos to a publisher claiming to be working on a similar coffee table book project.
Two weeks later, Ellington allegedly reneged on the deals and backed out by falsely claiming that plaintiffs hadn't paid the agreed upon amounts.
Plaintiffs seek more than $150,000 in damages. They are represented by Stewart Levy of Eisenberg, Tanchum & Levy in New York.