The last time Scene caught up with Larry Marshak, the New York agent was busy defrauding old R&B artists out of their rightful names [“The Great Pretenders
,” November 1, 2006].
For the last three decades, Marshak has been promoting tours involving counterfeit versions of The Coasters, The Drifters, The Platters, and The Marvalettes. While one fake Drifters groups is on stage in Las Vegas, another is performing on a cruise ship in the Pacific.
How is he able to do such a thing, you ask? Easy. Marshak has been stealing trademarks from the groups’ original members for years, which makes it perfectly legal. Even when he loses a court battle to an original member, it doesn’t stop him. His ability to undercut the fees charged by the real bands makes him a more enticing option for clubs.
For years, he’s been touring a version of The Drifters without the proper trademark. In 2001, a federal judge finally barred him from using the name. The same judge also ordered Marshak to hand over all profits to the trademark’s rightful owner – Faye Treadwell, widow of the group’s deceased manager. But Marshak declared bankruptcy to avoid paying out, then continued to tour with his fake bands.
But earlier this monthly, federal Judge Dickinson Debevoise found Marshak in contempt of his 2001 court order. Treadwell’s attorney, Cindy Salvo, is requesting an accounting of all profits since then. “Even if he filed bankruptcy again, he’d still have to pay up this time,” Salvo says. “A fine that is levied in contempt is not dischargeable in a bankruptcy. The hard thing will simply be locating all the money.” – Denise Grollmus