(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — A California judge recently threw out a $10-million dollar slander suit that Great White lead singer Jack Russell filed against a former publicist for the group that questioned whether the band was meeting its commitments to The Station Family Fund. The fund was set up to aid victims families after the tragic Station Nightclub fire during a Great White show.
Russell's lawyer, Edwin F. McPherson, had asked the judge to reconsider an earlier decision, claiming that a signature on a key document was a "complete forgery," according to the Providence Journal.
The judge concluded that the signature of former Great White tour manager Craig Bradford was in fact genuine, and threw out the case. The document echoes former spokeswoman Charrie L. Foglio's contention that Great White was not handing over all tour proceeds it had promised to the fund.
On February 20, 2003, Great White began its show at the West Warwick, Rhode Island, nightclub with pyrotechnics, sparking a blaze that killed 100 people and injured more than 200.
Later that year, the band went on a 41-city tour to raise money for The Station Family Fund. The band agreed to keep expenses at only $5,000 per show, and would donate all additional proceeds to the fund.
"On the weekend of August 7th thru the 10th Great White was contracted for four shows for a total of $35,000," the document reads.
A "recap" by band manager Obi Steinman "only showed a total of $8,000 for band/promoter donations going to The Station Family Fund. According to the original agreement The Station Family Fund should have received $15,000," according to the document.
McPherson called the document a fraud, saying that Great White lived up to its commitments to The Station Family Fund. He said the only agreement was that the band would pay expenses and give all profits to the fund, and he said that's what happened.
Russell accused Foglio of slander for telling people that he and Steinman were "stealing" and "embezzling" tour revenue that was supposed to go to the fund. The suit claimed Foglio made those statements to the press and to fund organizers after she was fired as the band's publicist.
Foglio insisted that she was actually the band's co-manager, not publicist, that she quit instead of being fired, and that she never claimed they were "stealing" or "embezzling."
On March 4, Russell's slander suit was thrown out of California Superior Court with the judge ruling that the singer was a public figure who had failed to show "constitutional malice," according to the paper.
Russell's lawyer filed a motion for reconsideration and submitted a statement in which Bradford said, "The signature on that declaration is a complete forgery and the purported facts contained in the declaration are not true." Bradford did not show up to testify in court, however.
McPherson argued that Foglio had left voice-mail messages that "so frightened and intimidated Mr. Bradford that he was afraid to come to testify."
Judge Robert L. Hess ruled that McPherson's arguments were not credible.
"What does ring true," Hess wrote," is the statement in [McPerson's] declaration that Mr. Bradford didn't want to have any further involvement with this case. If, as the court has found, Mr. Bradford's signature was genuine, then his declaration was false, and his reluctance to be put under oath in the courtroom is understandable. The court finds this is the true reason for Mr. Bradford's non-appearance."
In an interview, Foglio said she felt vindicated.
"Everything they accused me of is not true," she said, according to the Journal. "They were absolutely trying to bury me with stuff they knew was a lie. Forgery is a criminal offense punishable by jail time. They wanted to save their butts at any cost. They knew they did something wrong."
Foglio insists she is still just looking from an apology from the band. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers