Rob Halford's longtime manager John Baxter is suing the Metal God and other members of Judas Priest and their management team for alleged fraud, breach of contract and intentional interference with contractual relations. Baxter is asking for around $50 million in damages.
Baxter had been Halford's personal manager since 1982 but he was fired in August and is now claiming that he discovered in August that the frontman owes him millions of dollars for contract breaches. These alleged breaches include failure to pay commissions, salary and expenses dating back to 1992.
He alleges that Halford conned him by saying that he was unable to fulfill his financial obligations and instead promised he would pay Baxter when he was able to.
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Baxter was fired from his job as manager on August 9th 2011 via a letter from a British law firm that stated "it has become clear over recent weeks that the relationships between our parties has run its course and that you are not acting in our clients' best interests."
The letter goes on to claim that Arizona resident Baxter withdrew his sponsorship of Halford's American visa in order to prevent his entry into the country and also that he posted nasty comments on Halford's official website, actions that "placed an intolerable strain upon our clients' ability to maintain constructive and professional relations with the remaining members of Judas Priest and their representatives at this crucial time."
Baxter's attorney, Barry K. Rothman, told Rolling Stone that the termination was unjust and that the defendants have ulterior motives, referring to the announcement of the Judas Priest farewell tour last December.
"It was wrongful termination because there's no basis to have terminated. They have their own agenda," says Rothman.
"Baxter has been managing Halford for decades. Judas Priest was coming to an end and the Judas Priest people wanted to engage Halford in his solo endeavor and to continue to have a relationship with him which was not possible with Baxter in the middle. There's a whole reason why this all of the sudden abruptly came to an end."
Neither Thompson nor defendant Jayne Andrews, another Judas Priest manager, have seen the suit yet. But both rejected Baxter's allegations, Thompson saying; "We are aware of the false claims he is trying to make – this has been ongoing for a while now. Rob Halford validly terminated his contracts with John Baxter and there's nothing in John Baxter's various claims, all of which will be vigorously resisted."
Longtime guitarist KK Downing quit the band earlier this year after over 40 years, saying in a public statement at the time; "There has been an ongoing breakdown in working relationship between myself, elements of the band, and the band's management for some time. Therefore I have decided to step down rather than tour with negative sentiments." Richie Faulkner was hired as his replacement.
In August, Judas Priest band members posted a statement on their official website: "There has recently been some nonsense and propaganda posted on the Internet. including on Rob's website, regarding the band and management. (Rob currently is not controlling his website and absolutely does not agree with the comments). We refuse to get drawn into any public arguments - it is below us and will be dealt with legally.
"The band have always jointly made any major decisions and have been with the same management team for over 25 years. Everyone knows and respects them in the music business and we have ultimate faith and trust in the way they have always guided us."
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