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Lil Wayne Presses Cash Money for $51 Million

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - Lil Wayne and Young Money Entertainment sued Cash Money Records for $51 million on Friday, claiming the label hasn't properly accounted for payments and royalties owed them.

Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. aka Lil Wayne says Cash Money Records has not paid all royalties owed them for Young Money artists, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in Orleans Parish, Louisiana.

Young Money artists include Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday, Tyga, Mack Maine, Jae Millz and Cory Gunz.

The lawsuit says Cash Money has not properly accounted and paid royalties and advances to Carter.

"Despite being obligated to do so, as of the date of this petition, Cash Money has not registered Carter as a co-owner of the sound recordings contained on the album entitled 'I Am Not a Human Being II' which was registered solely in the name of Cash Money," the complaint says.

The plaintiffs go on to claim Cash Money failed to pay the $8 million as promised in 2014 for a solo record when Lil Wayne turned over "Tha Carter V."

Cash Money has not made $200,000 quarterly payments it promised, and has further breached its agreement by not keeping a contracted $1 million in escrow, the lawsuit says.

Despite Drake's standing as one of the music industry's best selling recording artists in recent years, Cash Money has only "provided intermittent, incomplete accountings regarding Drake's recordings" and has not provided a single complete accounting in respect of the exploitation of Drake's recordings, according to the complaint.

Cash Money is also alleged to have failed to register the copyright of the Young Money label recordings as jointly owned by Cash Money and Carter/Young Money LLC.

Cash Money has allegedly refused to accept artists submitted by Lil Wayne to join the Young Money label.

Cash Money failed to account and pay monies due to various third parties involved with recordings by artists signed to the Young Money label, resulting in legal actions against the label, the lawsuit says.

Additionally, Cash Money has failed to pay producers, engineers and other third parties related to the operation of the Young Money label, resulting in demands for payment and even lawsuits filed against it, the complaint states.

Cash Money's failure to pay artists and producers royalties, and to account for money, has damaged Young Money's reputation, the lawsuit says.

"Cash Money has jeopardized the ability of the Young Money Label to properly and successfully conduct business and has improperly conducted waste to the assets of the Young Money Label. Cash Money has failed to respond to numerous demands for payment and has failed to appear and defend lawsuits filed against both the Young Money Label and Cash Money for Cash Money's failure to account to and pay third parties, which has, in some instances, resulted in default judgments," the lawsuit states.

Cash Money failed to set up a separate bank account for Young Money and has commingled funds belonging to Young Money with Cash Money funds, including advances from Universal Records that were based upon the successes of Young Money artists, the lawsuit says.

For instance, it alleges sometime in 2012, Cash Money received approximately $100 million in an advance from Universal, much of which was based upon the popularity of Young Money's recording artists, but Cash Money has never accounted for the advance, and Young Money has not seen the proceeds.

Instead of using the $100 million advance from Universal for the Young Money label, Cash Money allegedly used portions of the advance to pay Cash Money artists or expenses.

Cash Money has breached its fiduciary duty by not registering the copyright of the Young Money label recordings in both Cash Money and Young Money LLC and Carter's names; for not properly accounting for and paying royalties and profits for the Young Money label and refusing to let Young Money look at the books for the label, and for not protecting Young Money, according to the complaint.

Young Money and Dwayne Carter Jr. seek $51 million for breach of contract and fiduciary duty.

The lawsuit was filed by Christophe Bela Szapary of Provosty & Gankendorff of New Orleans.

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