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Tom Petty’s widow and daughters end legal dispute over late rocker’s estate

Tom Petty
Grammy-award winning rocker Tom Petty is shown at his home in Malibu on Sept. 27, 2017.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Rocker Tom Petty’s widow and his two daughters have reached a settlement agreement in their months-long dispute over the administration of his estate, and going forward will serve as equal participants in the release of additional recordings and other projects, according to a joint statement issued Wednesday.

Dana York Petty, the singer’s widow, and daughters Adria and Annakim Violette, from his first marriage, had been at odds in the months after his death at 66 on Oct. 2, 2017, just a week after he and the Heartbreakers completed a triumphant, six-month 40th-anniversary world tour.

Differences that emerged following the rollout of two posthumous releases — “Tom Petty: An American Treasure” last year and “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: The Best of Everything” earlier this year — led to a $5-million lawsuit filed last spring by his daughters against their stepmother, who countersued. The daughters argued that their father wanted all three parties equally involved in decisionmaking regarding his estate, and Dana Petty countered that he had made her sole executor.

“We are pleased to announce the formation of Tom Petty Legacy LLC to manage all aspects of Tom’s legacy,” the three said in a joint statement. “We are committed to honoring Tom’s voice, music, integrity and his charitable spirit.”

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The statement added that “they have resolved their differences and dismissed all litigation matters that had been filed related to Tom’s estate. Each of them sincerely regrets that in their intense grief over Tom’s tragic death, actions were taken that were hurtful to one another.”

It also specified: “Each member of the family will have equal standing in Tom Petty Legacy LLC and will work together on all future endeavors. The business will build upon Tom’s 40+ years of great music and his historic career.”

Dana York Petty and Adria Petty did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment. A spokeswoman for Petty’s estate said none of the parties would have further comment immediately.

All three parties previously told The Times of their cooperative efforts with Petty’s longtime cohorts in the Heartbreakers and engineer Ryan Ulyate in assembling the first two compilation albums released after Petty’s death from “multisystem organ failure” caused by accidental drug toxicity, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s report.

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In his final interview five days before his death, Petty also told The Times he hoped in 2018 to release an expanded edition of his 1994 solo album, “Wildflowers,” which had been conceived as a double album but scaled back to a single disc for release. He also said he planned to embark on a tour in conjunction with that release, highlighting the additional material that was originally shelved.

Later, however, disputes over each family member’s continuing role in making decisions about his estate emerged and lawsuits were filed. Rolling Stone reported that court documents showed the settlement agreement was reached on Dec. 10.

Wednesday’s statement also noted that a new management team led by Will Botwin and Coran Capshaw at Red Light Management has been established “to guide, advise and execute on behalf of the estate,” supplanting Petty’s longtime manager, Tony Dimitriades, and his East End Management firm.

Last year, Dimitriades announced that he would step away from day-to-day artist management, ceding most of those duties to his longtime associate Laurence Freedman, who set up his own Telegraph Road Management firm. At the time they said they would co-manage the solo careers of Heartbreakers members Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench and that Telegraph Road would assume management responsibilities of another East End client of long standing, Billy Idol.


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