NeYo Says Manager Rolled him for $8 Million
MANHATTAN (CN) - R&B singer NeYo's former business manager took him for $8 million, the Grammy-winner claims in Federal Court.
NeYo, whose real name is Shaffer Smith, claims his former manager and onetime confidant Kevin Foster took control of his bank accounts in 2005, then transferred his money without permission.
He claims that Foster forged his name on loan documents and failed to file timely tax returns for him and his companies.
In October 2012, Smith says, Foster, "through deception," put $3.5 million of Smith's money into an investment in OXYwater, a vitamin-infused sports drink company formed by former Ohio State University football player Preston Harrison.
"If that were not enough, Foster forged Smith's signature on loan documents and converted monies for his personal use," the lawsuit states.
Preston Harrison is not a party to the lawsuit.
NeYo says he hired Foster to "maintain Smith's budget, ensure Smith was financially situated as to maintain his accustomed lifestyle for the remainder of his life, protect Smith from financial ruin, and mitigate risk of frivolous spending."
Foster left the company to form his own company, Foster & Firm, and took over management responsibilities for Smith from 2005 through 2013, according to the complaint.
Smith then changed business managers to Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno, which began to "uncover potential improprieties" committed by V. Brown, Foster & Firm and Foster himself, according to the lawsuit.
"While the depth of defendants' deceit has yet to be fully uncovered, in 2014, Smith began to learn of many instances of self-dealing and negligence," the complaint states.
Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno are not parties to the lawsuit.
The water company filed for bankruptcy and cost investors $9 million and its founder has been indicted on charges related to the raising of money for the company, according to the complaint. NeYo claims that unbeknownst to him, Foster was the water company's president.
NeYo claims there was also a mysterious payment of $300,000 to an attorney with whom Smith had no relationship.
And in February 2013, Foster forged Smith's name to get two loans for $400,000 in Smith's name without his knowledge or authorization, according to the complaint.
NeYo seeks $8 million for securities violations, fraud, conversion, negligence and breach of contract.
Also named as plaintiffs are NeYo's companies: 2424 LLC; Super Sayin' Publishing; Compound Touring Inc.; and Compound Entertainment LLC.
He is represented by Richard Roth.