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August 27, 2014

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1960s music group The Lettermen at center of Las Vegas lawsuit

Image

The Associated Press

The Lettermen sing in this 1965 photo.

The 1960s pop music group The Lettermen is still around and it's the subject of a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas company Encore Music Presents Records LLC filed suit in U.S. District Court for Nevada against Lettermen founder Tony Butala and the group's manager Bob Crosby.

Encore Music last year released a new Lettermen CD, "New Directions 2010," as part of its business of merchandising new music by veteran easy-listening acts such as Shirley Jones and Jan Daley.

Encore Music, managed by musician Les Brown Jr., says in the lawsuit that Butala signed an exclusive recording deal for The Lettermen with Encore Music in 2009.

The parties in 2010 discussed with the Detroit PBS network the possibility of a 90-minute live television special accompanied by a recorded album featuring The Lettermen with Les Brown Jr. and his Band of Renown, the lawsuit says.

During these discussions, Butala told Encore Music he had recently hired Crosby and now Butala and Crosby are demanding the larger recording deal be modified, the suit alleges.

Encore Music has rejected the modifications, which it says called for significantly increased royalty fees to The Lettermen.

"Butala and Crosby are sabotaging The Lettermen PBS Special in order to obtain an unjustified modification of the original agreement between Butala and Encore Music," the lawsuit charges.

Attorneys for Encore Music say Encore has spent at least $75,000 recording and producing songs and albums for The Lettermen, and has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in financing for The Lettermen PBS Special and accompanying album.

The suit alleges anticipatory breach of contract and, against Crosby, alleges intentional interference with contractual relations and prospective economic advantage.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and an injunction blocking Crosby from interfering with the agreement between Encore Music and Butala.

A message for comment was left with The Lettermen office Wednesday.

Tuesday's lawsuit says Crosby and Butala operate out of Sharon, Pa.

That's where Butala in 1998 opened the Vocal Group Hall Of Fame and Museum.

According to billboard.com, The Lettermen -- now consisting of Butala, Donovan Tea and Mark Preston -- are known for 1960s songs such as "When I Fall in Love" and "Goin' Out of My Head/Can't Take My Eyes Off You."

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