BoDeans Win Suit Against Manager

A jury awarded the BoDeans more than $200,000 in damages from their former manager for breach of contract and other charges.

The May 26th decision in Milwaukee County Circuit Court ended a two-year legal battle stemming from a 1996 contract between the band and Mark McCraw. Relations became strained that year when the band’s “Closer to Free” gained popularity as the theme song of TV show “Party of Five.”

Band members testified that McCraw, who had managed the BoDeans since 1985, threatened to “make life hell” for the band and “tie them up in court” unless they signed the 1996 contract, according to The Business Journal of Milwaukee.

The agreement provided for McCraw to receive a percentage of virtually all band activities, including concerts, merchandise sales, royalties and publishing profits from songs written by the band – including those already recorded and released – the paper said.

The jury found that McCraw breached that contract, maliciously breached fiduciary duties to the band, intentionally controlled the band’s property and money without its consent, and misrepresented the group, according to the Journal.

Offsetting the penalties somewhat, the BoDeans were ordered to pay McCraw almost $37,000 for his stock holdings in Keshaw Inc., a legal entity of the band.

McCraw had also charged that the band owed him post-termination fees for firing him in April 2003, about two months before the contract expired. The jury ruled in favor of the BoDeans, which had included a clause stating McCraw could be fired without compensation if he did not fulfill his duties, the Journal reported.