Judge rules managers can sell Bo Diddley’s assets

The managers of the late rock and roll pioneer Bo Diddley can sell his assets and take a 15 percent commission, a circuit judge ruled on Friday.

Circuit Judge Robert Roundtree found that the sale of the estate assets was in the best interest of all parties and necessary to pay off the debts of Diddley, a longtime Levy County resident.

Roundtree also ruled that a law firm that negotiated the sale of the estate will get a 5 percent commission.

Diddley’s family opposed selling the publishing rights to his music catalog — worth an estimated $4.3 million — while his estate attorney, agent and manager argued the sale was needed to pay off an estimated $1.1 million IRS debt.

Faith Fusillo, one of Diddley’s managers, said Friday the ruling was expected based on comments from Roundtree in court hearings.

“This is exactly what the judge stated in court, and it is what we anticipated,” Fusillo said. “We’re happy with the decision and glad it’s over. We agree with the judge that this is in the best interest of the estate.”

Garry Mitchell, Diddley’s grandson, said the general consensus of the family is that it does not believe the money that has been paid to the managers and others is equitable for the work they did.

Mitchell added he is not certain if the family has any other legal recourse.

“As far as I know the family has received not much money compared to what other persons have received and labeled as expenses or work,” Mitchell said. “Their product on display does not match what they get paid for.”

Diddley, who died in 2008 at age 79, did not appoint anyone in his family, or any close friends, to help oversee an estate worth an estimated $6 million. He did not discuss the contents of his will with his family or close friends before he died, nor did any of his family help with his business when he was alive.


Judge rules managers can sell Bo Diddley’s assets
The rock pioneer’s family takes issue with money paid to the managers
Cindy Swirko
May 6, 2011