Singer Kenny Rogers has sued his manager of 33 years after firing him two months ago. Rogers last week filed a lawsuit in Davidson County (Tenn.) Circuit Court against Ken Kragen, who also has guided the careers of Trisha Yearwood, Travis Tritt, Lionel Richie, and others.
The suit claims Kragen had been disloyal and lured away new teen trio 3 of Hearts from Rogers’ Dreamcatcher Management Co. to Kragen’s own management company. That group is scheduled to release its first album on RCA Records this summer.
Rogers also charges Kragen tried unsuccessfully to steal country acts Diamond Rio and Sara Evans from Dreamcatcher. The 62-year-old singer fired Kragen on Jan. 22 as his personal manager and as president of Dreamcatcher Management.
While Dreamcatcher called the split amicable at the time, Kragen was taken by surprise by the
news. “I don’t have a clue why it was done. They never gave me a reason,” he told Billboard’s Phyllis Stark last month. “I think they decided they could work without me.”
A phone call to Kragen’s Los Angeles office was not returned yesterday (March 14). Kragen attorney Stanton Stein told The Tennessean newspaper that Rogers owes Kragen 50% of the management company’s profits from record sales, concert tours, personal appearances, and other items, as well as damages for interfering with other Kragen clients.
Rogers’ lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as ”any and all profits Kragen received through his wrongful conduct,” and an injunction to prevent Kragen from benefiting from ”his breach of the duty of loyalty he owed” to Dreamcatcher. The two men never had a written contract, according to the lawsuit, but had agreed Kragen would be paid a commission as long as he provided services, but not afterward.
The label portion of Dreamcatcher, which Rogers launched in 1998 with co-founder Jim Mazza, helped the country legend engineer a remarkable career comeback. He scored a No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks with “Buy Me A Rose,” the video for which went to No. 1 on Country Music Television. The track was also nominated for single of the year by the Country Music Association, Rogers’ first CMA nomination since 1986.
Copyright 2001 Billboard.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.