The Kenny Rogers estate is suing one of the singer's longtime business associates and producers for $ 290,000 in legal fees arising out of a dispute over a CD and DVD release that tied the country legend's final tour.
Kenny Rogers announced his final Gambler & # 39; s Last Deal tour in 2015. The dates are planned for the end of 2018. However, on April 5, 2018, Rogers announced that he would cancel the remaining tour dates for health reasons. Rogers died on March 20, 2020 at the age of 81.
According to the Kenny Rogers estate, producer Kelly Junkermann was given permission to record Kenny's farewell tour, but only for personal use and not for commercial distribution. Nonetheless, Junkermann received a distribution agreement for a CD / DVD release of the last tour and set up a preliminary pre-order in the US at the end of 2019, with some copies of the package being sold overseas. Eventually the estate sued Junkermann to prevent him from spreading the release. The estate says the presentation is not up to Kenny Rogers' standards and "would damage his brand."
According to the Kenny Rogers estate, Junkermann made repeated attempts to obtain permission for release and received "no" requests, both verbally and in writing. The estate managed to block Kelly Junkermann's release, but now they want to reimburse the legal fees incurred and make sure the footage is never seen in public.
Kelly Junkermann had worked with Kenny Rogers for over 40 years and was first hired by The Gambler to help him with his tennis game. Soon Junkermann helped produce live shows and television specials for Rogers. Junkermann produced Kenny's annual Christmas tours that have been around for 35 years. He also produced the television special Kenny Rogers Classic Weekend in 1989, Kenny Rogers: Keep Christmas With You 1993, Kenny Rogers: Going Home in 1995, Kenny Rogers: The Gift in 1996, Kenny Rogers: The First 50 Years in 2011 and also worked as a producer on A&E Biography: Kenny Rogers, which aired in early 2020.
In 2016, Kenny Rogers spoke beaming about Kelly Junkermann to a local Junkermann newspaper in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
"He's been with me for 40 years," Rogers said at the time. “Not just Kelly, but his family too. All of his brothers were out and about helping create the stuff for our Christmas tour. It's an amazing family with a great work ethic. Kelly is special in this regard in that he wants everything he does to be the best, and I'll tell you that he was responsible for some of the most creative things I've ever done … Usually, I don't just accept Things that people do for me, but he did it so well that I couldn't do better, so I just leave it alone. "
The next question many fans have is whether they will ever see footage from Kenny Rogers' last tour. According to TMZ, one of the reasons for the new lawsuit is: "The property does not want fans to confuse Junkermann's DVD with their own farewell tour project." Kenny Rogers was still alive when the first battle for release took place.