NASHVILLE (CN) – Country star Travis Tritt sued Category 5 Records and its CEO Raymond Termini, claiming his new album, “The Storm,” suffered because the record label did not spend enough money promoting it. The reason, says Tritt, is that Termini, who also is head of now-bankrupt Haven Healthcare, is being investigated by the State of Connecticut for allegedly using Medicaid money to start up the record label, which was staffed by Haven Healthcare employees.
Tritt says Termini founded Category 5 as an independent label and solicited him as an artist in 2005. Tritt claims this solicitation was fraudulent, as Termini misrepresented his experience, competence, wealth, corporate resources, knowledge of the industry, and his willingness to deliver what he promised.
Assuaged by these alleged misrepresentations, Tritt says he signed a contract on Christmas Eve 2005, and agreed to deliver one album a year with three one-year options, “in exchange for certain advances and royalties” including “living expenses related to promotional activities and … charter jet services for Tritt’s use during tours conducted in the United States during 2006 and 2007.”
Tritt objects, in his lawsuit, that Termini signed other artists immediately thereafter, and claims that the other artists drained resources Termini should have dedicated to him.
He claims that the contract “began to unravel” as he recorded “The Storm.” He claims Termini “failed to follow the direction and guidance of Tritt and his experienced team, interrupted and interfered with the technical production of the recording, including but not limited to the mixing of the album and re-touching of the album cover art, misspent needed advertising and promotion money, mismanaged the album’s release, failed competently to promote ‘The Storm,’ and then terminated most of Category 5’s employees prior to the release to the radio market of Tritt’s second single from ‘The Storm.'”
All of these acts violated contract, Tritt says.
He claims Termini refused to provide money for a tour to promote the album, saying that money had been spent making the album – also in violation of contract.
Tritt says he has run up $307,465 in personal debts on a greatly abbreviated promotional tour, which Termini owes him.
He claims Termini owes him $500,000 in royalties, plus interest, and that Termini has refused to pay this. He claims Termini “has directly threatened to harm Tritt’s future career by making disparaging remarks about Tritt and his ‘crappy management’ to other record labels”.
And he claims that amid all this, he learned from a news article published nationally on Nov. 18, that the attorney general of Connecticut “is investigating Haven Healthcare, a Connecticut company that operates nursing homes,” and of which Termini is CEO.
“Among other things, Haven Healthcare reportedly has not only allowed its debts to go unpaid, it also is reported that the Connecticut State Attorney General is investigating whether $8.5 million of company funds – reportedly obtained through the U.S. Medicaid health-care program – were wrongly used to launch Category 5 Records in December 2005.”
He claims Termini had Heaven Healthcare file for bankruptcy on Nov. 21, “after the State of Connecticut began scrutinizing that company’s history of reported patient-care violations and debt problems, and Termini’s reported use of the funds paid to it other than for its operations and the potential use of employees of Haven Healthcare to staff Category 5.”
Tritt demands punitive damages for breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, interference with business relationships, and other claims. He demands $10 million, a receivership appointed for Category 5, ownership of the album, and an injunction.
Tritt is represented by Robert Boston with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis.
See the federal complaint.