Jack Russell, leader of the band Great White, today (June 30) filed a multimillion-dollar libel suit against Charrie Foglio, a former publicist for the band.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, contends that Foglio falsely told the press and others that Russell and his manager, Obi Steinman, stole money from the Station Family Fund, a charity for the victims of the 2003 fire at the Station Club in West Warwick, R.I. The fire, which occurred during a Great White performance, killed 100 people and injured some 200 others.
According to the lawsuit, filed by longtime Russell attorney Ed McPherson, Foglio was fired in July 2003 because she allegedly made false statements to the press about Great White in order to further her own career, among other reasons.
The suit says after she was fired, Foglio threatened Russell and Steinman, saying that if they did not pay her a severance package, she would contact the press or the Rhode Island grand jury investigating the fire and tell them that Russell and Steinman were embezzling money from the Station Family Fund.
When Russell and Steinman refused, the suit charges, Foglio followed through on her threats. A Station Family Fund investigation later proved those charges false, the suit goes on to say.
“Jack Russell voluntarily gave up profits the band and he might have made last year on a 41-city tour because he genuinely wanted to help these victims and their families,” McPherson tells Billboard.biz.
“For someone to say after the fact that he somehow wanted to steal from these people or hurt them is deplorable,” McPherson continues. “It shows malicious intent toward Jack and his manager, and it’s completely untrue, and that’s why we felt compelled to file this action this morning.”
At deadline, Foglio had not yet been served with the suit, according to McPherson’s office. She could not be reached for comment.
Russell seeks compensatory damages of at least $10 million and unspecified punitive damages.