Gaga Hit With $30.5 Million Lawsuit

A songwriter and music producer who claims credit for “creating” Lady Gaga, as well as for coming up with the idea of using a Stevie Nicks riff in Destiny’s Child’s 2001 hit “Bootylicious,” has filed a $30.5 million suit against the rapidly rising star in a Manhattan state court.

Rob Fusari alleges Gaga, real name Stefani Germanotta, squeezed him out of her career after he helped her find her now-signature sound, developed her image, co-wrote and produce the songs “Paparazzi” and “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich” (both of which appeared on the singer’s smash debut The Fame) and facilitated her contract with Interscope Records.

The suit is rife with insults, with Fusari calling Gaga – who is also a former girlfriend, by the way – a “woman scorned” and a “young Italian girl ‘guidette.’”

In an apparent attempt to justify the personal nature of the accusations, the producer opens the suit by saying, “All business is personal. When those personal relationships evolve into romantic entanglements, any corresponding business relationship usually follows the same trajectory so that when one crashes they all burn.”

Fusari also alleges in the filing that he’s the one who bestowed the singer’s now-famous name upon her when he sent her a text message using the name “Radio Ga Ga” – a Queen song he says he sang whenever she visited his studio – and his phone’s spell check changed “radio” to “lady.”

However, in a 2009 interview with the Associated Press, Gaga said her “realization of Gaga was five years ago, but Gaga’s always been who I am.”

“I was Gaga from the time that I was 19 through my first record deal,” the 23-year-old newly crowned fashion icon continued. “I always dressed like that before people knew me as Lady Gaga. I was always that way … I stuck out like a sore thumb.”

Also contained in the suit is a claim that in 2006 Gaga and her father created a company called Team Love Child with Fusari “for the purpose of exclusively professionally exploiting Germanotta and the songs that Fusari co-wrote and or produced,” with the New Jersey-based producer owning a 20 percent stake in the business.

Although Fusari admits he has received royalty checks for approximately $611,000 for his work, as well as songwriting and production credits on The Fame, he claims he has been denied a 20 percent share of song royalties, 15 percent of merchandising revenue and other monies he’s owed by Lady Gaga.

While Fusari is hardly a household name, an article about the writer/producer in Songwriter Universe Magazine credits him with work on tracks by Destiny’s Child (“No, No, No,” “Winter Paradise” and “Bootylicious”), Will Smith (“Wild Wild West”), Jessica Simpson (“In This Skin”), Whitney Houston (“Love That Man”), Kelly Rowland (“Train on the Tracks”), as well as songs by Gloria Gaynor, Britney Spears, Cathy Dennis, Tom Nichols, Gareth Gates, Billy Crawford and a number of artists on Babyface’s Yab Yum label.

Dave Tomberlin, Lady Gaga’s spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to e-mails sent Thursday by The Associated Press.