LOS ANGELES (CN) – R. Kelly’s former manager claims the R&B singer stiffed him for “resuscitating Kelly’s career” after the singer faced child pornography charges in 2008 and his “career and personal life had hit an all time low.” And he claims some of the money owed him was spent to “pay off” people who threatened to expose Kelly’s salacious conduct.
Prospect Park LLC sued Kelly and his business manager Derrel McDavid in Superior Court.
Jeff Kwatzinez, principal of Prospect Park, says he agreed to manage Kelly “at substantial risk to his own reputation, but only after assurances from Kelly’s key representatives, including business manager Derrel McDavid, that the salacious allegations made against Kelly were false, and that he would never engage in such illegal and immoral conduct.”
Kwatzinez claims “Kelly reaped millions of dollars” at his expense, “as Kwatzinez and his company guided Kelly through the recording of two new albums, substantial multimillion-dollar tours, including a first-time performance in Africa, a book deal and a myriad of other appearances and events. Under Kwatzinez’s management, Kelly reaped millions of dollars. Kwatzinez’s firm, Prospect Park, did not fare as well.”
Kwatzinez claims he negotiated a “standard 15 percent commission deal with Kelly,” whose given name is Sylvester Kelly. Kwatzinez says the contract was negotiated through Kelly’s attorney, Gerry Margolis.
Kelly was found not guilty of 14 child pornography charges in 2008 after a well-publicized legal battle in which prosecutors said he had recorded himself having sex with an underage girl.
As Kelly’s career resumed, Kwatzinez says, “Despite the virtual flood of money to Kelly from recording gigs, music publishing and live touring, Kwatzinez was repeatedly told by McDavid, who was entrusted with the money, that Prospect park would have to wait to be paid. In fact, more than once, McDavid told Kwatzinez that monies earmarked to pay Prospect Park’s commission were needed instead to ‘pay off’ various individuals threatening to expose alleged illicit, embarrassing and unlawful conduct by Kelly, including sexual misconduct. Prospect Park never agreed to the diversion of its commissions in this manner, and McDavid’s claims appeared in direct contradiction to the earlier promises and assurances which induced Prospect Park to take on Kelly as a client.”
Kelly’s attorney Margolis died in September 2008. Kwatzinez claims: “It is now obvious that Kelly and his handlers never intended to pay over the commissions due, knowing that Margolis was no longer around to confirm the deal he struck with Kwatzinez. Kelly’s conduct, and that of his handlers, is nothing short of fraud.”
Prospect Park demands more than $1 million for “commissions long overdue,” an accounting, and punitive damages for breach of contract and fraud.
It is represented by Michael Weinstein with Lavely & Singer.