Kanye West is suing $7 million for unpaid “Donda” Coachella appearances


Kanye West is suing $7 million for unpaid "Donda" Coachella appearances

Hip-hop titan Kanye West, also known as Ye, is the subject of a lawsuit filed Thursday alleging that he and his companies would own a production and design company that worked on his livestream release show, Donda 2 , owed more than $7.1 million, his canceled Coachella gig, the “Free Larry Hoover” concert with Drake, several “Sunday Services” and the rapper’s studio space.

Phantom Labs claims that as unpaid bills from multiple projects began to pile up, it was assured that everything would be paid once the star raked in a reported $9 million fee for appearing at Coachella. When West pulled out of that headlining gig for weeks, the company said it was on the hook not only for the millions already owed for previous collaborations, but also for money it gave to other suppliers for the Scotch Festival had paid for an appearance.

Phantom Labs filed the lawsuit against Ye and several of its companies — referred to in the papers as “the Yeezy Defendants” — in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The production/design company is represented by the law firm Howard E. King, a well-known LA attorney who has worked for Metallica, Pharrell Williams, Dr. represented Dre and even West himself.

“We are incredibly proud of the work we have done with Ye and disappointed that it has resulted in such a fruitful relationship,” a Phantom Labs spokesperson said in a statement provided to the company diversity. “A celebrity who uses fame and reputation as a weapon to take advantage of eager collaborators is simply unacceptable.”

Yes’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that the $7,154,177.67 owed was incurred over a relatively short period of time, from June 2021, when Phantom Labs first began producing events with West, through March 2022. The papers confirm, that the company was paid for some of its early work, however, point out that those payments came under pressure when the company threatened to pull out of the Donda 2 streaming event, as its own providers warned they were the would stop production if they weren’t paid by Phantom Labs.

The lawsuit lays out a multiple-event timeline that Phantom Labs worked on with the star and finds that payments were made in the early stages of their working relationship. In October 2021, West reportedly hired the company to “complete a renovation project” at a downtown LA warehouse that West transformed into an office and creative space. Around the same time, Phantom Labs was hired to produce four of the “Sunday Worship Services” gospel events, which are invitation-only and take place on consecutive Sundays in November, which the star conducts. The company says it was not paid for any of this work.

In November, the lawsuit goes on to say, they provided services, including outfitting a studio for an unnamed artist that West was working with. Around the same time, they began renovations on a property on Seward Street for West’s architectural wing, for which they had reportedly received only partial payment.

In December, the company worked on the “Free Larry Hoover” concert, which Drake performed in, at the LA Coliseum and performed post-production work on a concert recording for which it was never paid, the lawsuit alleges. Later that month, they were asked to work on the “Donda 2” event and, according to the lawsuit, reluctantly acted, with unpaid bills piling up.

The “Donda 2” performance and live stream in Miami on February 22 was reportedly budgeted at $11.7 million, with Phantom Labs reportedly saying money would come from a deal West made with a sponsor to stream the event. “On or about February 18, 2022, just days before the event, Ye publicly ditched the streaming deal,” the lawsuit reads. A series of payments were made to Phantom Labs when they said they could not run the event to specification, and the vendors threatened revolts. But in the end, Phantom Labs says that of that $11.7 million, it still owes $2,279,443.29.

With Coachella looming and work continuing, the company says Yes’s representatives have “approved a budget that would represent a repayment of approximately $5 million to Phantom” for monies previously owed. “Then suddenly on April 4, 2022, Ye announced that he would not be appearing at Coachella. As a result of this last-minute cancellation, Phantom was billed an additional $1,063,477.36 consisting of requested services rendered to date, cancellation fees from Phantom-hired vendors, and production fees for services rendered.” During the first and second weeks of April Phantom Labs sent letters of formal notice to Yes’s companies, which it says have not resulted in any further payments.

The lawsuit also alleges that West’s companies attempted to cut out the middleman and directly repay some of the vendors to whom Phantom Labs owed money for the projects.

“Of the approximately $7,154,177.67 owed, defendants have not paid Phantom a penny, despite repeated requests for payment and the provision of detailed assistance by defendants,” the lawsuit reads. “To the contrary, to the best of our knowledge and belief, since receiving this information, Defendants and their agents have circumvented Phantom and attempted to directly pay certain Phantom suppliers and distributors with whom Defendants wish to work in the future.”

It’s the second lawsuit West is facing this month, although the earlier one is asking for a much smaller amount. In early July, TMZ reported that he was being sued for over $400,000 by a respected fashion rental company, the David Casavant Archive, alleging he never returned 13 “rare, prized pieces” and failed to pay the rental fees for them 2020

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