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Haggard Sues Environmentalists

02:04 PM Friday 1/9/09 | |

Merle Haggard has sued an environmental awareness group, claiming it illegally used his name and image to raise money.

The country music star claims the Nashville-based Green Train organization forged his signature and exaggerated his involvement with the nonprofit, which is launching an educational concert/train tour set to travel through 28 states over six weeks beginning in April. The Green Train is intended “to educate the public and enlist global support to help reverse the continued waste and destruction of our planet.”

The suit was filed Jan. 8 in chancery court seeking unspecified damages, that Haggard’s name be removed from the Green Train and that the court bar the group from keeping contributions illegally raised in his name without making “full and complete disclosure of all relevant facts to the donors.”

According to the suit, Haggard donated $20,000 to Green Train and agreed to ride the train, provide support and entertainment, and talk to some of his country music pals about getting involved with the program.

But the group “greatly exaggerated” his involvement, the suit said, using his name and image – without Haggard’s consent or knowledge – on all materials for the Green Train and allegedly forging his signature on “personal letters” sent to the likes of Dolly Parton, Jewel, Vince Gill and Amy Grant.

Along with Gill and Jewel, John Mayer, Cher, Willie Nelson and others are mentioned on Green Train’s Web site as supporting the program in some capacity. Haggard was nowhere to be found on the site at press time.

The suit says Haggard’s name was also used on promotional materials and merchandise sold on eBay and in nightclubs. Haggard said continued association with the Green Train could irreparably harm his reputation.

Furthermore, Haggard’s suit also contends that the group did not have a permit to raise contributions, did not report the contributions, and that “substantial amounts” of the tens of thousands of dollars it raised went to Green Train founder Robert Wolf’s personal use. Wolf is also named in the suit.

Green Train had not commented on the suit at press time.


Comments

  1. TN Boy in Texas wrote:

    05:06 PM, Mar 20, 2009

    My guess is that the other artists are waiting to see if there is any truth to what Haggard says in his suit.  Sadly in America, you can file suit against anyone even if what you claim is not true.

  2. Prof. Christopher David wrote:

    10:27 PM, Jan 09, 2009

    I suspect that Green Train is just another avenue for celebrities who crave social relevance to make vapid public postures about environmental issues. Cynical? Yes. But nevertheless true.

  3. alice wrote:

    04:06 PM, Jan 09, 2009

    If this is true, then does anyone know why Willie Nelson is still involved with Green Train/Bob Wolf?