Black Eyed Legal Battle

A Los Angeles business manager suing a lawyer for defamation-libel, among other charges, might not be too out of the ordinary in itself but when the legal catfight involves a “world-famous music group,” people start talking.

The Huffington Post and Deadline Hollywood are reporting that Sean Larkin of Larkin Business Management’s lawsuit against L.A. entertainment lawyer Helen Yu is in relation to Larkin’s handling of The Black Eyed Peas’ financial affairs.

Copies of court papers obtained by Pollstar don’t identify the band in question by name – just as a “world-famous music group” – or as a party to either legal filing but Deadline Hollywood cites “sources” confirming it is the Peas.

According to Yu’s Dec. 14 complaint, she represents “some of the performers in the group” and claims Larkin has failed to file state and federal tax returns for the band members or their corporations going back at least eight years and failed to keep accurate financial records for the band. As a result, “corporate entities owned by the music group and its members have been ‘suspended’ by the Franchise Tax Board for nonpayment of taxes,” court papers said.

Yu also accuses Larkin of “knowingly and/or recklessly breaching his fiduciary duties as a business manager by hiding more than $1.4 million dollars in United States Treasury checks made payable to one or more members of the music group,” and of “delaying and obstructing efforts to audit his performance” by the unidentified band’s record label.

Larkin’s lawsuit, filed Nov. 30 in Los Angeles Superior Court, which seeks at least $5 million in damages, doesn’t deny Yu’s accusations about not filing certain tax returns. Instead calls it “an inadvertent oversight” that his company has accepted responsibility for, is rectifying and agreed to pay any interest and penalties stemming from the late filings.

Larkin further alleges Yu has taken the news of the unfiled tax returns and “hatched an underhanded, deliberate and malicious scheme to ruin Larkin’s reputation and poach his clients through lies, misrepresentations and falsehoods.”

As for the audit launched by the unidentified band’s record label, Larkin’s suit claims “the auditors found nothing to support any of Yu’s fabricated allegations and lies.”

Pollstar’s attempt to reach The Black Eyed Peas management was unsuccessful at press time.