Diddley Managers Can Sell Assets

Despite opposition from the family of the late rock ’n’ roll pioneer Bo Diddley, a Florida judge has ruled Diddley’s former managers can sell his assets to pay off debts.

The longtime managers/agents – Margo Lewis and Faith Fusillo of Talent Consultants International – will receive 15 percent commission in the sale of Diddley’s assets. Lewis and Fusillo have been in charge of Diddley’s name, likeness and image and reportedly receive 30 percent from each Diddley sale. They argued the sale was needed to pay an estimated $1.1 million IRS debt.

Levy County Circuit Judge Robert Roundtree ruled the sale of the estate assets was necessary to pay off the former Florida resident’s debts.

Diddley’s family opposed selling the publishing rights to his music catalog, which is worth an estimated $4.3 million.

Diddley, who died in 2008 at age 79, did not appoint anyone to oversee his estate. Communications between family members, Fusillo and Lewis began to dwindle over time, with the family questioning the validity of the professional relationship because Diddly was uneducated, according to the Gainesville Sun.

Lewis provided Pollstar with the following statement:

“Bo Diddley suffered a career ending stroke on May 13, 2007, the morning after completing a gig at The Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, IA. Well before that event, Diddley executed his Last Will and Testament and provided that longtime agent and manager, Margo Lewis, and Faith Fusillo, Lewis’s partner at Talent Source, Bo’s management firm, ‘continue to manage and perpetuate (Diddley’s) business and affairs domestically and internationally in perpetuity,’ including the use of his name and likeness. Diddley named his local Florida attorney, Ronald W. Stevens, Esq., as the Executor.

“Lewis said, ‘We are gratified that Judge Roundtree agreed with us that the sale of certain extended term publishing rights is in the best interest of all parties and that he authorized the sale of such rights to go forward.'”