Sly Stone Awarded $5 Million in Royalty Lawsuit

After five-year legal battle against his former manager, the Family Stone rocker recoups more than 10 years of lost royalties

Sly Stone was awarded $5 million in back royalties after his business partners were accused of "shady accounting." Credit: Martial Trezzini/Corbis

Sly Stone was awarded $5 million after a Los Angeles Supreme Court jury found that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was cheated out of over a decade's worth of royalties by his former manager and an entertainment lawyer. In the breach-of-contract lawsuit, Stone's lawyers argued that Gerald "Jerry" Goldstein and Glenn Stone had tricked Sly Stone into becoming an employee and co-owner of a company called Even St. Productions, which they then used to pocket Stone's royalties through "shady accounting."

"It's a good day for Sly, it's a good day for entertainers in general," Nicholas Hornberger, one of Stone's lawyers, told the press following the verdict. "This was an important verdict for people that are artists, entertainers, music composers, etc."

Lawyers for Goldstein, Sly's former manager, and Glenn Stone claimed that the rocker was hoping to "re-create his career" when he approached the company in 1989, the AP reports. They argued that Stone didn't see any royalty payments from 1989 to 2000 because the money that Even St. collected was used to pay off Stone's outstanding IRS debts. The defense put the figure in the $10 million range, the Wrap writes.

However, the jury disagreed with Glenn Stone and Goldstein's claims and returned a $5 million verdict in favor of Sly Stone, with Even St. ordered to pay the Family Stone rocker $2.5 million, Goldstein forced to pay $2.45 million and Glenn Stone $50,000. However, the decision gets murky given Sly Stone's status of a co-owner in Even St. Productions, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2013. A judge will sort out that and other issues when the case returns to court "in a few weeks," Hornberger said.

"Sly’s a deeply religious guy and he loves everybody and they just took him. It's sad that people would treat other people like that," Hornberger told the Wrap. "This is endemic of the entertainment industry. There are bad people who leech off people and this has got to stop."

The legal battle between Sly Stone and Goldstein had been waging since at least 2010, when Stone sued his former manager for $50 million. It was later discovered that Stone was living out of a white van in Los Angeles after being left broke from "financial mismanagement." The year before, Stone accused Goldstein of fraud and embezzlement during a long rant onstage at the Coachella Music Festival; Goldstein later sued Stone for slander over that incident.