CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CN) – The former manager of the hip hop artist Chingy says his one-time client reneged on a royalty agreement and instead spent money that should have gone to his management.
Chingy, whose given name is Howard Bailey Jr., is best known for his 2003 summer hit “Right Thurr.” But his career unraveled and, BET has reported he blames his alleged affair with a transgender model — a relationship he denies — for ruining it.
As described in a federal complaint filed June 9 in North Carolina, Bailey sold his digital performance rights — including all royalties those digital performances generate — to Leslie Charles King II and his Viper Publishing.
But King says Bailey didn’t abide by their agreement. In Sept. 2016, he says, the rapper went to SoundExchange, the company that distributes his digital royalties and attempted to change the paperwork so that future royalties would be forwarded to his bank account, instead of King’s or Viper’s.
King says he found out about the attempted maneuver and sent Bailey a cease and desist order. He says Bailey agreed not to try to get around their agreement again, but in April, the rapper once again approached SoundExchange and this time did change the paperwork, transferring royalty payments to his private bank account.
“When Viper learned of the change, it demanded that SoundExchange disregard it and continue to pay the SoundExchange Royalties to Viper,” the complaint says. “In response, SoundExchange advised that its policy is not to make determinations as to who of multiple claimants is entitled to payment, but rather to make payments based upon the bank account information in its system until it receives instructions directly from the account holder or a copy of a court order to the contrary.”
King says he again sent Bailey a cease and desist letter, but this time, Bailey ignored it.
“As a result of Bailey’s misconduct, which he has refused to rectify, Viper had no choice but to file this lawsuit,” King says.
King says he had an oral agreement to provide Bailey with management services until 2012, when their professional relationship ended. King doesn’t say why the two made the digital performance agreement, but he claims to be entitled to at least $350,000 in unpaid royalties under the deal.
Kimberly Herrick, of Concord, N.C., represents King and Viper and said her client does not wish to comment on the lawsuit.
A representative of Bailey did not respond to a request for comment from Courthouse News.