Rostrum Records Files Lawsuit Against Wiz Khalifa
UPDATE: Wiz Khalifa and Rostrum Records founder Benjy Grinberg have settled their lawsuits against each other, according to Billboard. “This agreement includes the dismissal of lawsuits that each party had previously filed against each other earlier this year,” both parties said in a statement. “Both parties are pleased with the outcome and look forward to putting this matter behind them.” Financial terms were not disclosed.
Rostrum Records, and its founder Benjy Grinberg, have filed a lawsuit against Wiz Khalifa, whose given name is Cameron Jabril Thomaz. Their cross-complaint, which was filed on Wednesday in Los Angeles, is in response to the lawsuit Khalifa filed against them in May.
In documents obtained by Rolling Stone, the new lawsuit claims that via the contract the parties entered into, Rostrum and Grinberg are entitled to receive 15 percent of all royalties earned and received by Khalifa as well as 15 percent of his tour proceeds and 20 percent of the rapper’s merchandise sales. “Rostrum is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that the Publishing Royalties, Tour Royalties and Merchandise Royalties that Thomaz currently owes Rostrum, but has failed to pay in breach of the Operative Agreement, exceed $2 million.”
Khalifa’s lawsuit seeks to terminate the 360 deal he signed in 2005, when he was 16-years-old, and $1 million plus punitive damages and legal fees. The rapper’s suit alleges that Grinberg steered Khalifa toward business opportunities that were more advantageous to Rostrum and Grinberg, who was Khalifa’s personal manager until March 2014, rather than the rapper.
“During the period that Grinberg and Rostrum acted as plaintiff’s personal mangers [sic], they induced plaintiff to enter into a series of transactions in which Grinberg and Rostrum placed their own interests over those of plaintiff and failed to disclose to plaintiff material information necessary to obtain his informed consent for such transactions,” Khalifa’s suit alleges.
In a demurrer document obtained by Rolling Stone, Rostrum and Grinberg claim Khalifa’s lawsuit “is a transparent and baseless pre-emptive strike, designed to attempt to evade paying millions of dollars that Tomaz owes to defendant Rostrom Records, LLC.” It claims Khalifa’s rise to success in the music industry was due largely to Grinberg and his label’s efforts and that Khalifa “has concocted a fabricated story that mischaracterizes the relationships between the parties and the agreements at issue” rather than pay the money they claim the rapper owes.
“Thirteen years ago, we started Rostrum Records as a label that would support and nurture the artists we believe in. We are very grateful that Rostrum has been able to achieve that goal and provide a strong, family atmosphere where meaningful relationships with the artists is our top priority. To give everything you have to an artist and then to be on the receiving end of a fabricated lawsuit is deeply disappointing,” Grinberg said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “What was alleged is, in fact, the complete opposite of our actions and the antitheses of what Rostrum Records and I stand for. Rostrum looks forward to quickly addressing these baseless claims so we can continue to focus our energies on our artists’ success.”
A rep for Wiz Khalifa did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
A hearing for the lawsuit against Khalifa is set for August 1st.