Last week, news website The Spinoff exposed the High Court ruling against prominent New Zealand music manager Matt Coleman (and his business Let The People Speak).
Avalanche City frontman Dave Baxter had taken Coleman to court, after realising that significant amounts of his musical earnings were not accounted for. After a lengthy trial, High Court judge Justice Susan Thomas ruled that Coleman owes Baxter $307,000.
In her final ruling Justice Thomas explained some of the circumstances surrounding Coleman’s management had been, “suggestive of active dishonesty” and that “It is difficult to accept any innocent explanation of the non-disclosure of those sums.”
Others have been quick to speak out since the information has gone public.
Parachute Music CEO, and Executive Member of the Music Managers Forum, Mark de Jong says, “Over the past few years a number of allegations from artists have been swirling around Matt Coleman and alleged questionable financial practices in his management of artists. I was shocked and saddened at the extent of malpractice shown in this trial. It is a significant injustice to Avalanche City and it is extremely disappointing that an artist’s trust has been abused in this way. I encourage all New Zealand artist managers to join the Music Managers Forum (MMF), so that artists know that their managers are adhering to the MMF Code of Conduct.”
Auckland musician Ezra Vine took to social member to explain, “Matt Coleman managed me up till 2015 when I found out he'd been stealing from me too (along with other co-artists). It's caused me a lot of stress. It's also contributed to the delays with putting my music out. I'm very glad to see my friends the Baxters get some recompense for what they've had to go through.”
Coleman's company Let the People Speak went into liquidation on November 30, so it’s not clear whether the money will be paid back. He told the Spinoff he doesn't accept the judgment, but won't be appealing it.