Lady Gaga sued for $30 million by jilted producer

Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:51pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former producer to pop sensation Lady Gaga has sued his one-time protege for more than $30 million claiming he was instrumental to her success but unable to profit from it when their romance ended.

In his lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in New York State Supreme Court, Rob Fusari contends he was a key figure in transforming the ambitious young woman named Stefani Germanotta into the pop phenomenon she is today, even helping coin her moniker, Lady Gaga.

But when their romance fizzled, Fusari was cut out of her record deal, failed to be paid royalties on subsequent music sales and was shortchanged on the producer fees he was due.

"All business is personal. When those personal relationships evolve into romantic entanglements, any corresponding business relationship usually follows the same trajectory so that when one crashes they all burn. That is what happened here." the lawsuit said.

Lady Gaga, a 23 year-old double Grammy-award winner, is considered among the most exciting new pop artists of recent times and has sold over 10 million albums worldwide.

She has cultivated a rabid fanbase with hits such as "Bad Romance" and Poker Face," and thrilled audiences with stunts such as setting her piano alight at the American Music Awards or having fake blood drip from her ribs in a live performance.

The suit details how Gaga met Fusari in March 2006 through a mutual friend. Initially unimpressed by her appearance, he asked her to sing and was "within seconds" blown away.

"Fusari thought Germanotta's songs were brilliant but lacked commercial appeal. He pushed her to explore different musical genres," the suit said.

As the relationship became romantic, the suit details how Fusari supposedly began crafting Germanotta's image, even accidentally purloining the Lady Gaga name.   Continued...