Sly Stone sues ex-manager, claiming millions kept

FILE - In this July 14, 2007 file photo, funk music pioneer Sly Stone from the group Sly and the Family Stone performs on stage during the 41st Montreux Jazz Festival at the Stravinski hall in Montreux, Switzerland.

January 28, 2010 7:13:27 PM PST
Sly Stone sued a former business manager and others on Thursday, claiming tens of millions of dollars in royalties were kept from the singer who now depends on Social Security to survive.

Stone, whose real name is Sylvester Stewart, was the frontman of the 1970s funk group Sly and The Family Stone.

He sued former manager Gerald Goldstein and several companies in Los Angeles, alleging they kept 20 years of royalty payments and leveraged Stone's work and rights to accumulate as much as $80 million in assets.

The complaint said Stone has been homeless at times and is dependent on Social Security. Goldstein paid Stone some money until 2007, when the payments stopped, the lawsuit states.

Stone depended on Goldstein to handle his financial affairs, the suit states.

"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," Stone's attorney Robert J. Allan wrote in a statement.

Goldstein has produced numerous other artists. Efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.

The lawsuit claims nearly 20 causes of action against Goldstein and other defendants, including allegations of fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty.

The legal action claims Goldstein, his longtime companion Claire Levine and attorney Glenn Stone set up several companies to divert royalty payments and borrow against Stone's work.

A working phone number could not be located for Levine. A New York number registered to Glenn Stone and Goldstein's Avenue Records has been disconnected.

Some of Sly Stone's hits include "Dance to the Music," "Everyday People" and "Family Affair."

The lawsuit offered a candid look at the musician's life since his hit-maker days, including tax troubles, bouts with drug addiction and living in poverty.

The suit is seeking a full accounting of royalties due to Stone, and an accounting of several companies the suit claims Goldstein and others used to divert royalties.