LOS ANGELES (CN) – A man who claims that he is Richie Ramone’s business partner claims the punk rock drummer owes him royalties and $45,000 in expenses for Ramone’s debut solo album, “Entitled.”
Jiro Okabe claims in Superior Court that the former Ramones member and songwriter, 56, agreed in a March 2012 partnership agreement to split royalties 50-50 and repay Okabe the $45,000 he spent on recording sessions. The website Discogs credits Okabe as a bass player on Ramone’s record. Ramone, whose real name is Richard Reinhardt, is the only defendant.
Ramone’s attorney Tiffany Krog told Courthouse News that Okabe was never her client’s business partner, calling him “a disgruntled ex-bass player on Reinhardt’s album who was fired by Reinhardt for poor performance.”
“Okabe’s prior employment as a Reinhardt’s bass player is easily confirmed by the album credits of Reinhardt’s album,” Krog added in an email.
Ramone began recording “Entitled” in May 2012 and finished the record in December that year.
Okabe claims he paid bills for studio time, musicians, hotel rooms, plane tickets and food.
Despite that initial outlay, Ramone went behind Okabe’s back and entered into a deal with punk rock label DC-Jam Records to release the album, Okabe claims in the lawsuit.
“Further, and contrary to the terms of the partnership agreement, the terms of the record agreement state that Ramone was to split the royalties from the sale of the album with DC-Jam, not plaintiff. In fact, the record agreement does not allocate any royalties to plaintiff,” the 11-page lawsuit states.
“Entitled” debuted on Apple iTunes before the record’s worldwide release on Oct. 18, 2013.
Okabe says he has yet to see a penny of proceeds.
The Ramones were formed in 1976. The influential punk band performed for the last time at the Palace in Hollywood in 1996.
Okabe wants at least $45,000 in damages, an accounting and costs.
He is represented by John Buche with Buche & Associates of La Jolla.
Correction: The Feb. 5, 2014, article identified Okabe as Reinhardt’s business partner. The story was corrected to make clear that Okabe is an alleged partner and reportedly performed on “Entitled” as a bass player.
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