Bunny Rugs’ widow files lawsuit against Third World
Bouvier Clark, widow of late lead singer William “Bunny Rugs” Clarke is calling on reggae band Third World to pay out money she claimed is owed to her late husband. Since the singer’s death in 2014, Bouvier says that despite promises made to her by founding members of the band to compensate her and Clarke’s 7 children, she hasn’t received a cent from the band.
In an interview with National Weekly, Bouvier said she’s planning to file a lawsuit against Third World to have access to information of funds owed Clarke at the time of his death.
“I have heard nothing from no one after several months of calling,” said Bourvier. “I saw a press release from Third World lawyers that the band owes me nothing, and anything owed is from performing rights societies as royalties for my husband’s music. But the funds I am seeking have nothing to do with royalties, but money owed him as a member and part-owner of Third World, the business.”
Responding to a news item related to Mrs. Clark’s demands, Third World attorney Captain Paul Beswick of the Jamaican firm Ballantyne, Beswick and Company issued a press release stating “… all payments due to Bunny Rugs personally for royalties and intellectual property rights are paid individually by the various performing rights societies which handle payments of this kind.” Usually these societies make payments to individual artists and songwriters for their share of royalties for the intellectual property rights in their works. Since Bunny Rugs is deceased, the royalties should be paid to his legally authorized representative.
However, Royal Palm Beach entertainment attorney Lloyd Stanbury, who is representing Mrs. Clarke, says these statements “are grossly misleading, designed to do damage control, a delay tactic and distraction.”
Stanbury said Mrs. Clark is justified in her claims on the band, and contrary to statements made by Third World has “no malice or intent to damage the good name and integrity of the band.” He confirmed Mrs. Clarke is the duly authorized representative of her husband’s estate, and entitled to make inquiries to secure all details necessary to assess the value of his estate, and also entitled by law to collect all past and future profits from her husband’s work.
Stanbury also indicated Mrs. Clarke has already taken necessary steps to secure payment of royalties due to her late husband as a songwriter and performer from relevant music copyright societies.
“At no point in time did Ms. Clark request Third World should account to her for any such songwriter or performer royalty income,” says Stanbury.
The attorney said funds due Mrs. Clarke are from Bunny Rugs position as a part-owner in the enterprise known, and trading worldwide, as Third World. “That enterprise owns assets including merchandise, goodwill, trademarks, and sound recording masters that are of significant value, and continue to generate income for all part-owners of the enterprise.”
Stanbury confirmed Mrs. Clarke intends to file a lawsuit in Florida to secure a court order for access to the funds, since band members have refused to respond to her requests.
Efforts to obtain a response from Third World band representatives to Mrs. Clark’s claims have failed. Individuals close to the band have said that they are no longer speaking to the press regarding this case.