Walter Becker’s estate issues response to Donald Fagen’s lawsuit

The estate of late Steely Dan member Walter Becker has issued a statement in response to a lawsuit filed by his bandmate, Donald Fagen.

The suit in large part stems from agreement that was made in 1972, which said the death of any band member would result in that band member’s shares in the band being sold back to Steely Dan, Inc. Becker passed away on September 3 at age 67. (Click here for more on the suit in an article published by Rocknuts last week.)

The statement issued by Becker’s representation reads as follows:

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“We were disappointed to learn that Donald Fagen commenced a lawsuit against (the estate of) Walter Becker, his partner of 50 years, on the eve of Thanksgiving. We believe the agreement to which Mr. Fagen refers in his suit — drafted 45 years ago— was not in effect at the time of Walter’s death.

“Mr. Fagen’s lawsuit, riddled with half-truths and omissions, misleadingly fails to state that the day after Walter died, Mr. Fagen had his lawyer send a demand letter to Walter’s estate, thus beginning a legal campaign against Walter’s family immediately after his death. The misrepresentation that his widow, Ms. Cioffi initiated any litigious action is simply untrue. In our view, Mr. Fagen is unfairly trying to deprive Walter’s family of the fruits of their joint labors.

“Since Walter’s passing, we have endeavored to achieve a compromise with Mr. Fagen. We were close to a resolution with his longtime counsel who he suddenly fired. We then negotiated in good faith with replacement counsel who Mr. Fagen also fired. Mr. Fagen’s third and current lawyer did not even attempt to contact us prior to filing a lawsuit.

“While we regret Mr. Fagen’s latest actions, we will vigorously defend against his unwarranted and frivolous case.”

It seems unfortunately like this could be shaping up to be a legal battle that lasts a while. In the meantime, Fagen has continued on with Steely Dan after Becker’s death, playing a series of North American and European tour dates in October.

Photo: By Arielinson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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