Reid Takes ‘Family Man’ To Court

Bad vibes have developed between Norfolk, Va., promoter Bill Reid of Rising Tide Productions and Aston “Family Man” Barrett of The Wailers, leaving the longtime associates heading to court.

The suit, filed at the end of October, accuses Barrett, his manager/girlfriend Jennifer Miller and Wailers Management LLC of breach of contract, unjust enrichment and fraud stemming from promotion and other services Reid provided to The Wailers between 1998 and 2006 but was never paid for.

Jeff Breit, Reid’s attorney, told Pollstar the problems have been ongoing and the lawsuit is a last resort for his client.

“Bill Reid has been very generous and very patient – I would say to a fault,” Breit said. “That happens sometimes when you have a relationship [and] you keep hoping the people will acknowledge their debt and take steps to pay it back.”

The lawsuit claims that from 1998 to 2006 Reid promoted The Wailers and helped triple the band’s concert fees and land opening slots for Santana, Sting, The Allman Brothers Band and others. Reid was to receive 10 percent of the band’s revenue, which reportedly was $8 million during that time. The suit also says Reid fronted the group about $1.2 million for expenses and band equipment.

Meanwhile, Barrett and Miller allegedly used the band’s income to send their six children to private schools, take vacations and to live lavishly while claiming they couldn’t afford to pay expenses for The Wailers or repay Reid, according to the suit.

“[Miller] took the business reins of the traveling band and on occasion, different members would play with ‘Family Man’ as The Wailers,” Breit explained. “Unfortunately, as she became more and more involved in the management, the accounts at the bank were transferred exclusively to her control.

“The commissions owed to Mr. Reid and the moneys owed for previous debts just weren’t paid.”

Breit said things came to a head when Reid, who represents another offshoot of The Wailers called The Original Wailers, received cease-and-desist letters allegedly from Miller and Barrett.

“He’s had a very long relationship [with The Wailers]. He’s known Rita Marley, he’s known the entire band for a long time,” Breit said. “He didn’t want this to turn out this way.”

Richard Ottinger, attorney for Barrett and Miller, declined to discuss the specifics of the case except to say, “We deny the claims and we’ll have further comment later.”