Friday 23 March 2018

Presidential candidate Dana's family split after money row

Sisters in bitter battle over music rights and royalties

Presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon and her husband Damien on the campaign trail in Tralee, Co. Kerry on Friday
Presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon and her husband Damien on the campaign trail in Tralee, Co. Kerry on Friday
Presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon and her husband Damien on the campaign trail in Tralee
brother Robert Brown at home in Birmingham
and sister Susan Stein in Iowa

Shane Phelan, Greg Harkin and Sam Smyth

THE family of presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon has been split down the middle by a bitter row over music rights and royalty payments.

Last night Ms Scallon's sister Susan Stein told the Irish Independent how a 2008 court battle in the US had polarised the family, with half taking her side and half taking Ms Scallon's.

Revelations from the court case now threaten the singer's strong 'family values' image -- and to derail her already struggling campaign. Ms Scallon (61) has been left fighting a des- perate battle to keep her bid for the Aras on course after it emerged:

Deep divisions exist in her family following a row over the control of a US record label.

Her sister Susan claimed in a court that a strategy was developed to keep Ms Scallon's US citizenship under wraps in case it affected her chances in the 1997 presidential election.

Discrepancies exist between both sisters' accounts of when Ms Scallon became a US citizen.

Ms Scallon's siblings are also involved in a dispute over the ownership of her late mother's home in Derry.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Ms Stein (64) revealed how she had "no personal relationship whatsoever" with her sister following a dispute over the alleged underpayment and non-payment or royalties and the ownership of master tapes for some of Dana's albums.

The case, details of which emerged in Ireland for the first time yesterday, involved the Heart Beat record label, which Ms Stein helped run to distribute Dana's music to a US audience.

A private settlement was agreed following the court proceedings, which involved the continued payment of music royalties to Ms Scallon. Relatives said Dana was supported in the US dispute by her brother John (57), who is also her campaign adviser, while another brother Robert (69) sided with Susan.

Ms Stein also stood over claims she made during the court case that her sister had taken out US citizenship prior to her first tilt at the presidency in 1997.

She said a decision was made that Ms Scallon would not reveal her US citizenship during that campaign unless asked, as it was feared that this could hurt her chances. Ms Scallon denied her sister's claims last night.

However, she was unable to provide conclusive proof of the date she received citizenship. In a statement to the Irish Independent, she insisted that she did not become a US citizen until 1999.

“My US passport was renewed in 2009. It is a 10-year passport expiring in 2019. The US issue a standard 10-year passport. My first US passport was issued in 1999,” she said. Ms Scallon said that she had made it clear to US officials that she could not renounce her Irish citizenship.

Meanwhile, Ms Scallon's brother Robert Brown told this newspaper that family members had been involved in a dispute over the ownership of their mother Sheila's home in Derry after she passed away in November 2009.

“She always said she'd leave that home to us all for us to share but that didn't happen because the family was split over it,” he said. “The house was lying empty since but has since been let whilst this is all sorted out.” Mr Brown, who lives in Birmingham and needs dialysis three times a week due to kidney failure, said he too had grown apart from his sister.

“I supported Susan in her dispute over in America and that probably hasn't helped,” he said. Another sister, Eileen (68), who still lives in Derry, also confirmed there was a dispute over the ownership of their mother's home.

“I am the executor of my mother's will and therefore cannot comment, but yes it has split the family apart. It is awful,” she said.

Irish Independent

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