Bluesman Bo Diddley has sued the estate and widow of his late manager, alleging misappropriation of funds.
Diddley, whose real name is Ellas McDaniel, claimed in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles that Martin Otelsberg, who died last April, controlled his earnings, placed them in an account that only he could draw on, and used part of the money for personal expenses.
Otelsberg also allegedly used credit cards issued in both their names for personal purposes and paid the bills with Diddley’s money.
The suit also says that last February, Otelsberg suddenly demanded Diddley sign a written management agreement that called for payment of “unconscionable” commissions and fees without explaining the terms or advising Diddley to get independent advice. Otelsberg had been managing Diddley under an oral agreement since 1967.
Otelsberg told Diddley that he would destroy the agreement and not enforce it after using it to thwart interference by a competitor, the suit said.
But Otelsberg’s widow, Lila, as executrix of Martin’s estate, has refused to turn over books and records unless Diddley pays fees due under the written agreement, the suit said. Diddley says he did not understand the terms of the agreement when he signed it.
The suit seeks at least $ 75,000 in damages, an accounting, delivery of the books and records, and a declaration that the written agreement is unenforceable.