Published Jan 29, 2010Funk legend Sly Stone is suing his former business manager and other individuals who he claims set up several companies to steal over $20 million dollars in royalty fees from him over the course of two decades.
A press release put out by Stone's legal council on Thursday (January 28), the night before the annual Grammy Awards, announced the $50 million lawsuit had been filed in a Los Angeles Superior Court.
"On the eve of the Grammys that celebrate the best of our artists, we see a dark side of the music business where some of these artists are being robbed of their intellectual property and the fruits of their genius by unscrupulous people who prey on their trusting nature and lack of business and legal knowledge," said Robert J. Allan of Allan Law Group, who represents Stone, in the release.
The suit charges Stone's former manager, Jerry Goldstein, and a group of co-defendants with fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and conversion for diverting, converting and misappropriating his royalties and assets for over 20 years. It's estimated that between $20 to $30 million dollars in royalties are in question. The suit also calls for the books to be opened on all royalty collection payments during the period in question, as well as seeking punitive damages.
Sixty-six-year-old Stone, whose real name is Sylvester Stewart, has enjoyed a successful solo career since disbanding his classic, chart-topping funk band, Sly and the Family Stone, in the mid-'70s. Some of Stone's hit songs include "Dance to the Music," "Everyday People" and "Family Affair."
Goldstein, who has worked with many other music artists, is alleged to have set up several companies to divert Stone's royalty payments and borrow money against Stone's profits. The case's co-defendants are a tangled web of Goldstein-controlled companies and collaborators who Stone claims Goldstein used to assist in his scheme to defraud the funk legend. The lawsuit alleges Goldstein used Stone's millions to purchase premium properties through trusts and offshore corporations, as well as live a "lavish lifestyle."
Joining Stone as a plaintiff in the case is radio mogul Ken Roberts, another former manager of Stone, who is suing Goldstein for fraud and identity theft. Roberts claims Goldstein stole the name and identity of a company that Roberts incorporated in 1975 when he managed the artist. Roberts also claims Goldstein used the company name to obtain Stone's royalties.
Meanwhile, a documentary film about Stone is in post-production and slated to be released sometime in 2010. He also recently signed to Cleopatra Records and is set to release a new album this summer.