NewsWritten by Sarah Bella on August 2, 2013
Eugene Hutz, the charismatic frontman of gypsy punk outfit Gogol Bordello, is reportedly being sued for $1.9 million by the band’s former guitarist, Oren Kaplan, on behalf of the band’s business entity, after claims that Hutz has “brazenly absconded” with $500,000 of the band’s moolah.
According to The Guardian, Kaplan discovered that his lead singer had been less than financially honest when the former left the band last year. He claims that Hutz took over managing the band’s financial affairs from him in 2009 and began paying himself a salary double that of the other seven band members, as well as transferring $500,000 of the band’s money to new corporations he had started, referring to them as loans but not paying any interest.
The former guitarist also alleges that Hutz secretly made a promo deal with Coca-Cola, allowing the brand to use a Gogol Bordello song to promote the Euro 2012 football championships, allegedly encouraging Kaplan to take time off after his mother died to help conceal the fact that the deal had been made and most of the proceeds were being kept by Hutz.
The suit has been filed in the New York County Supreme Court on behalf of both himself and the band’s business entity, Gypsy Punks LLC, suing Hutz for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment and seeking half of the $1.9 million for himself in personal damages and the rest to be paid back to Gypsy Punks LLC.
It’s not yet clear whether Kaplan is being backed by the rest of the band. Gogol Bordello are currently on a world tour, having released their sixth studio album released Pura Vida Conspiracy last month.
Gallery: 12 dodgy lawsuits involving musicians
Mariah Carey vs Mary Carey - The pop diva sued the porn star in 2006 for having a name too similar to her own. A judge agreed and deemed that Mary needed to change her name to avoid confusion.
50 Cent vs Taco Bell - The chain ran an ad campaign in 2008 suggesting the rapper change his name to 99 Cent to promote their 99 cent menu. The Get Rich Or Die Tryin' rapper cared not for this, sued, and the two parties ended up settling out of court.
John Fogerty vs John Fogerty - In '93, John Fogerty was sued by Fantasy records for ripping off a song he wrote for Creedence Clearwater Revival...in his own solo song, because Fantasy owned the rights to the original. The case was by all accounts laughed out of the courtroom.
David Fox vs Placebo - Fox, now 28, was once the 12-year-old pulling a face on the cover of Placebo's self-titled debut. He sued the band in 2012, saying the release ruined his life and led to bullying and unemployment.
Rick Ross vs "Freeway" Rick Ross - What if we were to tell you that the Rick Ross you know may not be Rick Ross at all? That's the story behind the formerly incarcerated cocaine kingpin “Freeway” Ricky Ross, who has gone up against the rapper and his label accusing them of stealing his hard-earned badass image in order sell records.
John Cage vs The Planets - Who has creative control over silence? Well, potentially composer John Cage does. Years after he released silent performance work 4’33″, The Planets released their 'One Minute Silence (after Cage)'. Now perhaps they used the same 'key' of silence but a lawsuit ended with an out-of-court 6-figure settlement in the favour of Cage. Hopefully there were no awkward silences at the proceedings, as that would have probably The Plants cost a few extra grand.
The Vandals vs Variety Magazine - Before releasing their 2003 opus 'Hollywood Potato Chip', The Vandals were issued a stern warning for selecting album artwork similar to the logo of 'Variety' Magazine. So they changed it. Years later, the canned album art popped up online and even though it wasn't on The Vandals website, they copped a lawsuit from 'Variety'.
ICP vs FBI - Forefathers of the Juggalo movement, Insane Clown Posse truly lived up to their name with this one. After their subculture was listed by the FBI as a dangerous gang, they filed a lawsuit, instead wanting to be known as a family. Too bad for them they weren't actually a family, and that there had been many instances of gangs of Juggalos causing havoc. Woop woop.
Axl Rose vs Guitar Hero - When Guitar Hero III was released, everyone was over the moon bar Axl Rose. As it turns out, he had put it in writing that he didn't want to be associated with Slash, which the developers agreed to, then seemingly forgot about. This case actually holds water but Rose waited THREE YEARS before taking it to court, and it was thrown out for that reason.
Eminem vs Crazy Homeless Man - Apparently, Christina Aguilera handed homeless man Stephen Lee Pieck a phone as she walked passed him on the street. On the other end? Eminem! Pieck allegedly told Slim his big idea for a Superbowl TV spot, then tried to sue for $9 million after he didn't get credit when it appeared. The real question here is how does a homeless man own a TV?
Rihanna vs Woman With Herpes - A 28-year-old waitress was understandably concerned when her new Rihanna-brand lipstick gave her oral herpes. As it turns out, staff at a department store had been using that exact stick of lippy as a tester. That doesn't TOTALLY rule RiRi out as a carrier. (Prepare for an updated edition of this article with Rhianna vs Music Feeds)
Jonathan Lee Riches Vs Kim Kardashian and Kanye West - There are always rumours flying around Kimye, but when Jonathan Lee Riches threw his into the mix it ruined the fun for everyone. Riches sued the power couple for being terrorists, saying he saw them training with Al-Qaeda and burning the American flag.