Katie Armiger Crowdfunding Legal Fees as More Cold River Lawsuits Fly
Katie Armiger has turned to her fans to ask for help in funding her ongoing legal battle with her former record label, Cold River Records.
Armiger released four albums via Cold River from 2007-2014, reaching her highest singles chart position at No. 42 with "Best Song Ever" in 2010. In June of 2015, a split between her and Cold River became public when a post to her social media accounts abruptly announced that she was "taking a breather" from country music. Armiger denied that and claimed that the label had made the statement on her behalf without her consent by accessing her social media without her permission, and the parties traded lawsuits in 2016, reaching a quiet settlement.
The singer has mostly laid low since then, but after the bombshell allegations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein led to the #MeToo movement, Fox News reached out to ask her to tell her story, which included allegations of widespread sexual misconduct on the part of radio programmers. Armiger has also alleged that label head Pete O’Heeron asked her to “sex it up” for radio station program directors and that Cold River VP of Promotions Jim Dandy told her she needed to hug, kiss, flirt with and sit in the laps of radio program directors to get them to play her songs. She claims that the label fraudulently induced her into signing her recording contract without running it by a lawyer and accused the label of financial improprieties.
In a new GoFundMe campaign, Armiger says that while Cold River publicly responded to her new interview with well wishes, "Privately, though, they filed another lawsuit against me in hopes of silencing my voice."
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Armiger says she has been trying to work as a songwriter while going to college, since she has no access to any of her master recordings, press materials or even her social media accounts, and therefore no way to earn money as an artist. Armiger has answered Cold River's new suit with a complex countersuit in which she alleges that O'Heeron not only has not lived up to the terms of the previous settlement, he has personally destroyed some of her intellectual and physical property, taken down her YouTube videos that had garnered more than a million views, threatened her booking agent to prevent her from performing live and even contacted SiriusXM to tell them not to play her music.
Armiger further alleges breach of contract and conversion over her rights to her master recordings, videos, photos and artwork, as well as access to her digital distribution accounts, official website and social media accounts, which she says she paid for as part of the prior settlement. She also claims O'Heeron has breached a non-disparagement clause and violated the terms of the prior agreement by disclosing aspects of it in public, and she is asking the Davidson County Chancery Court in Tennessee for "damages for breach of the Settlement Agreement in an amount to be determined at trial, plus pre-judgment interest at the contractual rate and her reasonable attorney’s fees and litigation expenses as permitted by law, and further ordering that Mr. O’Heeron specifically perform the contract provisions he breached."
Armiger is asking for a jury trial, and in her GoFundMe, she writes, "I would love to finally be able to get a verdict from a judge and be able to own all of the music and content that I created over the last decade. I would also like to be able to speak my truth without fear of retaliation and hopefully encourage others facing similar struggles."
She is trying to raise $20,000, and says everything that does not go to her legal case will be donated to the Sexual Assault Center in Nashville.
"I don’t have much to offer other than my gratitude, but it is endless," she says in closing. "I will do my best to keep everyone as updated as possible throughout this entire process. Admittedly, I’m anxious to go back through legal proceedings, but I’m hopeful we can finally find justice."
O'Heeron and Cold River have repeatedly denied Armiger's allegations, calling them baseless.
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