Sly Stone Awarded $5 Million in Unpaid Royalties

Sly Stone Awarded $5 Million in Unpaid Royalties
It's been ruled that funk icon and Family Stone leader Sly Stone will be given $5 million U.S. in a breach-of-contract suit that had the musician claiming his business partners had been cheating him out of royalties.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury made the decision yesterday (January 27), ruling in favour of 71-year-old Stone over ex-manager Gerald Goldstein, lawyer Glenn Stone and Even St. Productions Ltd. The case alleged that Stone's partners had taken advantage of the star after convincing him to become an employee of and co-owner of Even St. Productions with them in 1989.

From there, his royalties were mismanaged by Goldstein and Stone using "shady accounting." The business move left the Family Stone singer destitute; he was said to be homeless and living in a van in recent years.

"They met him, they signed him up...but what they really wanted was his royalties," Stone's lawyer Nicholas Hornberger said in a statement [via Billboard].

While Sly Stone testified that he hadn't received royalties between 1989 and 2000, Goldstein and Stone's lawyer Gregory Bodell argued the singer wasn't getting any money because of his troubles with the Internal Revenue Service. Bodell also said that Stone's business partners were trying to help revitalize his career by helping pay off the IRS and renegotiating deals with record companies. They claim they got the singer as much $9 million in royalties over the years.

Jurors on the case assessed $2.5 million in damages against Even St. Productions, $2.45 million against Goldstein and $50,000 against Stone. Bodell said that the ruling will be challenged.

"It's a good day for Sly, it's a good day for entertainers in general," Hornberger said of the ruling. "This was an important verdict for people that are artists, entertainers, music composers, etc."