Judge Rules CMJ Owner Must Pay Over $500k to Former Employees

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 21: A CMJ gift bag on the floor at CMJ Music Marathon Presents Lykke Li at Bowery Ballroom on October 21, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images)

A Manhattan federal judge ruled Friday that Adam Klein, the owner of CMJ, the once-renowned music publication and events organizer, must pay upwards of $500,000 in unpaid wages and other fees. District Court Judge Katherine Forrest found in favor of four plaintiffs who filed a collective action lawsuit in 2016. The suit named CMJ Holdings, Klein, and his company Abaculi Media, claiming the former employees received no compensation from October 2015 onward. A lawyer for those employees, Alex Granovsky, issued a statement to Pitchfork:

We have default judgment against Abaculi Media Inc. for all four plaintiffs, and final judgment of damages against Adam Klein individually as to three of the plaintiffs. We intend to prevail at trial on behalf of our fourth plaintiff and enforce judgment against all defendants, including Mr. Klein individually.

CMJ began as a trade publication in 1978 and organized the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City for 35 years. The now-defunct organization dropped the festival in 2015 and stopped publishing its charts in 2017. Klein purchased CMJ in 2014.


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