Hey! Ho! Let’s go…to Manhattan Supreme Court.
The widow of Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone has been acting like a punk in her own right, cashing in on the groundbreaking band’s rep by slapping their name on her LA ranch, it’s claimed in new court filings.
Mickey Leigh, the brother of the iconic group’s late frontman, Joey Ramone, hashed out the gripes with Linda Ramone in the least punk way imaginable — a series of closed-door arbitration hearings — earlier this year.
But the battle was laid bare in papers filed Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court asking a judge to affirm arbitrator Bob Donnelly’s rulings.
Leigh and Ramone “have an almost sacred mission to be the caretakers for the band’s creative work, to protect their iconic brand and to educate new fans in order to grow their legend,” wrote Donnelly.
“Instead, the parties have allowed their personal egos and their animus for one another to interfere with their joint obligations by failing to communicate, obfuscating information and unreasonably withholding their approvals.”
Like something rising from the “Pet Sematary,” the latest schism in Joey and Johnny’s notoriously contentious relationship comes years after their respective deaths in 2001 and 2004, both from cancer.
Fueling the punk pioneers’ lifelong animosity was Linda, who dated Joey in the 1970s before their split found her in the arms of Johnny.
Among Leigh’s complaints was Ramone — or Cummings-Ramone, as Leigh would prefer her to professionally go in a nod to Johnny’s given surname — branding her California sprawl the “Ramones Ranch,” the papers say.
Associating the quintessential New York band’s name with the sunshine-soaked Los Angeles property “is trying to deceive Ramones fans and the public into believing that this is the official home of the Ramones,” Leigh claimed in the January and February hearings.
In another sign that she just wants to be related to the Ramones’ legacy, Johnny’s widow went by Linda Ramone in promoting her annual “Johnny Ramone Tribute” event, a bash packed with unlicensed use of the whole band’s music and likenesses, the papers claim.
Under Donnelly’s decision, Linda must use a less band-specific name for her home, such as “The Johnny Ramone Ranch” or “The Linda Ramone Ranch,” according to the filings.
She must also go by Linda Cummings-Ramone, as opposed to Linda Ramone, in promoting future iterations of the tribute show if she wants it to include the work of the whole band.
Donnelly is hopeful that Leigh — born Mitchel Hyman — and Linda will be singing “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” under the new arrangement.
“Mickey Hyman and Linda Cummings-Ramone have been entrusted with the exceedingly important mission of preserving the legacy of the Ramones for its existing followers, and to grow this iconic brand to a new world-wide group of music fans,” he wrote.
“The only way those goals can be accomplished, in my estimation, is for there to be some radical changes made by Mickey, Linda, and their representatives.”
Lawyers for Linda did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while an attorney for Leigh declined to comment.
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