[JPL] Jazz warbler Hilary Kole flew coop, and Birdland owner beau flew into fearsome rage, lawsuit says

Dr. Jazz 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

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 
and 2011.

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
Dr. Jazz Operations
24270 Eastwood
Oak Park, MI  48237
(248) 542-7888
SKYPE:  drjazz99

More information about the jazzproglist mailing list