LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Reclusive funk musician Sly Stone filed a $50 million lawsuit against his former manager on Thursday, alleging fraud and 20 years of stolen royalties.
Stone, 66, the frontman of 1960s and ‘70s band Sly and the Family Stone, claimed that Jerry Goldstein had diverted an estimated $20-$30 million of royalties and used them to fund a lavish lifestyle.
Stone also claimed that Goldstein registered the name of the Sly and the Family Stone band with U.S. authorities as one owned by the Goldstein family, and used it borrow millions of dollars.
Goldstein could not immediately be reached for comment.
Stone’s lawyer Robert J. Allen said the lawsuit highlighted “a dark side of the music business where some of these artists are being robbed of their intellectual property and the fruits of their genius by unscrupulous people who prey on their trusting nature and lack of business and legal knowledge.”
The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court seeks damages of $50 million and asks for a full accounting from royalty collection companies to determine exactly how much had been taken from him.
With hits like “Family Affair” and “Dance to the Music”, Sly and the Family Stone was one of the biggest names in music in the late 1960s, appearing at Woodstock and paving the way for later artists such as Prince.
But the band fell apart in the 1970s because of heavy drug use and erratic behavior. After years out of the public eye, Stone gave his first live musical performance since 1987 at the 2006 Grammy awards, but left the stage before his song was over.
He has since made several brief appearances and was reported recently to be working on a new album for release sometime this year.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte