[JPL] Jazz warbler Hilary Kole flew coop,
and Birdland owner beau flew into fearsome rage, lawsuit says
drjazz at drjazz.com
Thu Nov 24 11:46:01 EST 2011
Singer who has played Rainbow Room and Carnegie Hall says ex John
Valenti has stalked and threatened her and grabbed their 556G savings
BY Barbara Ross
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, November 22 2011, 10:42 PM
A SULTRY songbird who has trilled at the Rainbow Room is now squawking
in Manhattan Supreme Court over sour notes from her former
manager/boyfriend, the owner of the iconic jazz club Birdland.
Hilary Kole, 36, is charging that John Valenti, 63 --- furious since she
left him in May --- threatened to kill her, harassed her with more than
100 phone calls, tried to sabotage her career and hijacked their joint
Kole, a rising star in the world of jazz singers, was, at 21, the
youngest vocalist ever to have a regular gig at the Rainbow Room. She
has since performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and abroad and has
recorded with jazz greats Oscar Peterson and Michel Legrand.
She is asking the court to break her management and production contracts
with Valenti and to order Valenti and his accountant, Howard Weiss, to
return more than $556,000 in savings that they accumulated between 2004
Kole says in court papers that she and Valenti shared a joint checking
account, bought furniture for homes in Manhattan and the Hamptons and
established an investment portfolio.
They also agreed to be heirs in each other's wills.
Valenti helped her make two albums and she performed regularly at
Birdland --- helping him double his revenue at the club, she says.
But the good times came to a bitter end.
Kole said she moved out on May 2 because of her lover's "extreme
behavior," including a threat to put "intimate photographs, videos,
recordings and emails of her" on the Internet.
He didn't take it well.
"Since May 2, 2011, . . . Valenti has stated (to Kole) 'I better not see
you walking down the street or you will pay,' " according to court records.
In June, Kole said, she got phone calls from a stranger telling her
precise details of where she had been and with whom. In late September,
she said, Valenti parked outside her current boyfriend's home.
Kole said she got a court order of protection after Valenti called to
say he planned to show up at an Oct. 22 performance at Lincoln Center
and cause "a tumultuous commotion for the sole purpose of embarrassing" her.
A month later, she said, Valenti violated the order by sending written
materials to her home and barraging her with text messages.
Kole's lawyer, Lawrence Garbuz, said he could not comment on the case
until Valenti is served with legal papers.
He said his client was traveling and unavailable to comment.
Valenti's lawyer, Ivan Saperstein, said he was withholding comment until
he had a chance to read the court papers.
bross at nydailynews.com
Dr. Jazz Operations
Oak Park, MI 48237
More information about the jazzproglist