Stan Polley (1922-2009), one of rock’s allegedly most crooked managers died July 20, 2009, in California.During the 1960s and 1970s he managed <a href=”http://www.the27club.net/tag/badfinger”>Badfinger</a>, Al Kooper, Lou Christia, and Charles Calello and others. Over the years, Polley’s reputation as a ruthless manager has been documented in books by Al Kooper and Dan Matovina, and according to The New York Times, Polley was named in 1971 as someone who worked as an in-between organized crime and a New York Supreme Court judge.
Stan Polley had a habit of forming companies for each of his clients, using charm to lure them in and complicated business structures to funnel money away from the artists. He formed Badfinger Enterprises, Inc. in 1970, and acted as the American arm of the band’s organization. Over time, it became clear to several band members that they had no control over their money, but Pete Ham (one of the 27s) refused to believe that Polley was a bad apple. In 1972, Badfinger let Polley negotiate a new record deal with Warner Bros. Records. The contract called for cash advances to be placed in escrow and WB soon found itself filing a lawsuit when it couldn’t locate the funds. A legal tangle ensued and Badfinger saw their records pulled from the shelves. By then Pete Ham saw the writing on the wall and tragically hung himself. His suicide note ended with “Stan Polley is a soulless bastard and I’ll take him with me.”
Polley soon left show business, but he continued to swindle and embezzle. In 1991 was ordered by a California Court to return $250,000 to an aeronautics entrepreneur, but according to the victim, he never received any money.
Be sure to read Dan Matovina’s book Without You: The Tragic Story of Badfinger for more.