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Disenfranchised Tony voters win court battle

League to provide membership and voter lists

The paper chase begins.

In a first salvo, the Honorable Jeffrey Atlas of the New York State Supreme Court has ruled in favor of disenfranchised Tony voters.

Last summer, the League of American Theatres and Producers revoked approximately 100 members’ voting privileges in the annual awards ceremony by excluding those who hadn’t produced a Broadway or touring show in the preceding four years.

Several of those members asked to inspect and copy of the league’s corporate records. When the league did not comply, three of the disenfranchised — Gail Berman-Masters, Seth L. Schapiro and Stephen Wells — filed a petition in New York State Supreme Court.

In a six-page opinion, Atlas directed the league to provide the petitioners with copies of last year’s membership and Tony voter lists. The judge wrote, “In light of the issues in this case, I do not think this is a frivolous request nor one that is intended to harass.”

Wells remarked, “Our attorneys are in the process of finalizing a major complaint against the league and its officers. … And there will not be three plaintiffs as we were limited to in the (petition), but about 30. We expect to be filing the complaint within the next month.”

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