The Turnpike Troubadours, Jason Boland, and the Medicine Stone Festival held annually in Oklahoma have all filed suit against their former management, Cory McDaniels Enterprises LLC, for what they claim are irregularities in accounting and the handling of financial affairs, and to be released from their management contracts. Medicine Stone is owned mutually by the Turnpike Troubadours and Jason Boland.
Though it is the Turnpike Troubadours and Jason Boland’s company Proud Souls Entertainment bringing the lawsuit, they are not asking for any money at this time, only a detailed accounting of financial records, as well as to be officially terminated from their management contract. Instead, it is Cory McDaniels Enterprises LLC that is demanding payment of $463,036 from the Turnpike Troubadours before allowing them to be able to walk away.
The demand was made on December 12th, 2019 for what Cory McDaniels Enterprises claims is “trailing commissions and lost profits representing both lost show revenues and the merchandise that would have been sold at these shows during the last 18 months.”
Cory McDaniels Enterprises is also demanding $32,000 from Jason Boland’s Proud Souls and Medicine Stone for “work in relation to last year’s show.”
Originally filed on December 26. 2019, the Turnpike Troubadours/Proud Souls Entertainment lawsuit asking for a declaratory judgement claims in part:
Since Mr. McDaniel’s termination, Plaintiffs have discovered irregularities in the handling and reporting of their financial affairs by Mr. McDaniel, who from time to time may have utilized McDaniel Enterprises in connection with the events at issue. These irregularities and concerns on the part of the Plaintiffs include, among others, unexplained expenses, unaccounted-for revenue, and direct deposits into Mr. McDaniel’s personal bank account. Due to the fiduciary nature of Mr. McDaniel’s relationship to Plaintiffs, his conduct at issue and the complexity of the relevant business records (a significant portion of which are believed to be in Mr. McDaniel’s possession), a complete accounting by Defendants to Plaintiffs of the financial matters and property of Plaintiffs at issue, including and all expenses and revenue of Plaintiffs, is necessary and continues to be withheld by Defendants.
In addition, after Mr. McDaniel’s termination, Defendants have made multiple unfounded demands on Plaintiffs for payment in the aggregate of nearly $500,000. Although there is no written agreement between Defendants and Plaintiffs supporting the Defendants demands and no industry custom or practice supports or may appropriately be interpreted to give rise to the Defendant’s demands, Mr. McDaniel continues to erroneously assert claims for post-termination compensation. Plaintiffs rightfully terminated Mr. McDaniel and have fulfilled all obligations to him. An actual, present, and justiciable controversy exists regarding the rights and legal relations among Plaintiffs and Defendants. Accordingly, an order from this Court declaring Plaintiffs rightfully terminated Mr. McDaniel, and owe no further compensation, is necessary.
Later the lawsuit states:
Since Mr. McDaniel’s termination, representatives of Plaintiffs have investigated Plaintiffs’ accounting records and discovered inconsistencies and irregularities, raising concerns about self-dealing engaged in by Mr. McDaniel. For example, Plaintiffs discovered that Mr. McDaniel unilaterally, and without notice, authorization or agreement, increased his percent commission from show and festival revenues, paid his own employees and contractors from Plaintiffs’ accounts rather than his own, and acquired a second tour bus to house himself and his employees, which he paid for through Plaintiffs’ accounts. In addition, Plaintiffs have discovered numerous unexplained expenses and deposits made directly to Mr. McDaniel’s personal account. The full extent of these inconsistencies is not yet known. Plaintiffs asked Mr. McDaniel to explain these inconsistencies, but Mr. McDaniel refused to cooperate. Rather, Mr. McDaniel has responded by asserting demands upon Plaintiffs and conditioning his cooperation on his demands being fulfilled by Plaintiffs.
Cory McDaniel began representing Jason Boland in 2002, and the Turnpike Troubadours in 2010. In July of 2019, Jason Boland and Proud Souls terminated their contract with Cory McDaniels Enterprises LLC, and the Turnpike Troubadours terminated their contract on October 21st, 2019. On May 31st, 2019, the Turnpike Troubadours announced an indefinite hiatus after numerous cancelled shows. It is the cancelled shows that make up the majority of the claims from Cory McDaniels Enterprises that the management company is owed money, and won’t terminate the band’s contract until they’re paid.
A letter from a lawyer representing Cory McDaniels Enterprises said on December 12th:
Since approximately May 2018, Turnpike cancelled 52 shows under CME management. The reason these shows were cancelled is not the subject of this letter. However, Mr. McDaniel repeatedly advised Turnpike to cancel the tour and not book additional shows until the band was ready to perform on its obligations. Despite this, Turnpike continued to ask Mr. McDaniel and CME to set up shows and promote existing shows making the necessary arrangements for these events. Yet, shows continued to be cancelled; some of which were cancelled as late as the day of the event.
Of the 52 shows cancelled under CME management since approximately May 2018, 38 had been marketed to the public and tickets had been sold and/or were on sale at the time of the cancellation. My client needs to be made whole for the work performed at Turnpike’s request and on it’s behalf.
Since the filing of the lawsuit, no concrete decisions have been made in the case. The majority of the discussions, motions, and filings subsequently have dealt with the decision on where the lawsuit should take place, with Cory McDaniels Enterprises wishing to move the lawsuit from the court in Tulsa.
Formed in 2007 between frontman and primary songwriter Evan Felker, and bassist and songwriter R.C. Edwards, the Turnpike Troubadours went from a group of guys getting together to play some music for fun, to one of the biggest and most successful independent country bands in history. Joining them along the way in the most long-lasting lineup of the band has been fiddle player Kyle Nix, guitarist Ryan Engleman, and drummer Gabriel Pearson. “Hammerin’ Hank Early” also joined the band in recent years on steel guitar, dobro, and accordion. Known for crafting sensible melodies underpinned by substantive lyrics, and imbuing traditional country with an energetic attitude, they became one of the biggest drawing and best-selling acts in Texas/Red Dirt of all time.
One of the founders of the Red Dirt movement and one of the most country of the lot, Jason Boland and his band The Stragglers have been a mainstay of Red Dirt music for over 20 years. In 2020, they were celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the release of the landmark album Pearl Snaps with a tour that has since been postponed due to COVID-19.
More information on the lawsuit when it comes available.