CHICAGO (CN) – A chiropractor and aspiring musician claims Avis Rent-a-Car defamed him by posting signs at his home and work accusing him of “Grand Theft Auto,” after his co-defendant music manager did not return a rental truck on time. Karl Forgeron claims he was fired after Avis posted the sign at his office.
Forgeron says he lost thousand of dollars in rental fees and purported airtime costs to defendants Romarick Hough and Diesel Management, who did nothing to launch his music career as they promised, and borrowed his credit card to rent the car.
Forgeron claims that when he met Hough in 2004, Hough claimed to be working for Bad Boy Entertainment.
Forgeron says Hough called him in 2009, claiming that he had started his own company – Diesel Management – which allegedly booked “major label acts such as Lady Gaga and Li’l Wayne.”
Forgeron says Hough claimed he could help the doctor land a “major label record deal,” because Hough allegedly had a “record distribution deal” with Universal Records.
Hough told Forgeron that if he “could demonstrate independent success, a record label would be willing to offer $250,000 for an artist deal and $1,000,000 for a music publishing deal,” according to the federal complaint.
Forgeron claims Hough then charged him thousands of dollars for studio sessions and “Royalty Music Codes,” which Hough claimed would get his music played on the radio.
At one point, Hough told him that if he did not fork over $3,500, his “chances of obtaining radio play would be in danger because an individual named ‘Big D’ at Universal wanted to keep the project moving,” Forgeron says.
“In February 2010, Mr. Hough told Dr. Forgeron that he needed a truck to ‘pick up [British-American rapper] Slick Rick from the airport,” and that he needed to use Forgeron’s credit card to get the rental, the doctor says. He claims that Hough paid him $580 in cash for the rental, which was to be for a just few days.
But Forgeron says that Hough took off with the car, and that Avis called to ask where it was, charged him for the extra days and threatened to send a “bounty hunter” to retrieve it.
Forgeron says he became scared, and suggested that Avis call the police.
Instead, he says, Avis agents posted signs outside his home and at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, where he worked, stating: “DR. FORGERON – GRAND THEFT AUTO.”
Forgeron says he had to meet with his office’s managing physician, who “indicated that the sign reflected very poorly on the practice.”
He was cut off from referrals and then fired, he says.
Forgeron says that Hough eventually returned the vehicle, but Avis charged him for “additional late fees as well as hundreds of dollars in purported ‘damage’ to the vehicle.”
Forgeron says that since he was fired, he has no health insurance and has been unable to find work as a chiropractor.
He adds that “has received no radio play, has never met anyone named ‘Big D’ or Universal, and has never been offered a record deal of any kind with any record label.”
Forgeron demands damages from Avis for unfair debt collection, public disclosure of private facts, defamation and emotional distress, and damages from Hough and Diesel Management for fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of contract.
He is represented by Vivek Jayaram with Jayaram Law.