Local music publisher Armen Boladian wins court battle with king of funk George Clinton

(WXYZ) - Funk music legend George Clinton lost his most recent court battle with local music publisher Armen Boladian.

We first told you about their legal feud and another court case involving Boladian over music royalties, but those cases are over – and Boladian came out on top.

For decades, music publisher Armen Boladian of Southfield, signed artists to contracts for his many companies, including Bridgeport Music and Westbound Records. One of those artists was George Clinton.

Another artist was Abrim Tilmon of the Detroit Emeralds, who is now deceased. When Tilmon died, his wife Janice Tilmon Jones collected royalties from the music he wrote, produced, and performed. Clinton and Tilmon separately sued Boladian claiming he owed them money.

For almost a decade, Tilmon-Jones was in federal court trying to prove her case. Her lawyers claimed copyright law gave ownership of her late husband's work and royalties to her, despite the fact that Boladian had purchased them before his death. 

She first settled with Boladian in 2007 for an undisclosed amount of money. Then she went back to court in 2011 claiming new evidence should allow her to reopen the case.

But late last month, the judge not only denied her claim. He also sanctioned the two attorneys for a "frivolous" lawsuit.  Those lawyers and Tilmon Jones must now pay Bridgeport its attorneys fees and cost.

As for George Clinton, a federal judge in California dismissed his latest attempt to restore his claim to music he and his band members wrote and performed. 

This comes years after another legal battle that also did not end well for Clinton. In 2001, a federal judge in Florida declared that Boladian's Bridgeport Music not only owned all of Clinton's compositions, but that Clinton had no rights to any royalties from his music.

In our previous report, we reported that 200 others are pursuing similar claims against Boladian. He told 7 Action News earlier this year and again for this report that those claims are absolutely not true.

Boladian and his attorney chose not to be interviewed on camera for this story, but in December we asked Boladian about his business, and how he treats his clients in the music business.

"As far as your time in the record business, you think you've been honest with everybody you've dealt with?" asked 7 Action News. "Well I've tried to be," said Boladian. "I mean, we're not perfect, nobody's perfect, but I try to be."  

Through his lawyer, Boladian objected to our original coverage, calling it unfair.  We apologize and hope this sets the record straight.

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