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Hip-hop mogul Damon Dash has filed a lawsuit against fellow entertainment industry titan Lee Daniels claiming breach of contract, defamation, and a host of other allegations.
The dispute between Dash, a Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder, and Daniels, whose directing credits include "Precious," "The Butler," and "The Paperboy," center around a $2 million investment that Dash made in Daniels' 2004 film "The Woodsman," reports The Hollywood Reporter. According to Dash's lawsuit, filed in New York, Daniels never repaid Dash, instead offering him an ownership stake in his upcoming projects, including "The Butler," which grossed over $176 million at the box office.
Now Dash is looking to collect what he claims he is contractually owed.
As detailed in Dash's complaint, Dash and Daniels entered into a string of oral and written contractual agreements regarding Dash's investment in Daniels' films. Dash's original $2 million investment in Daniels' "The Woodsman" was allegedly rolled over into Daniels' next project after Dash complained about failing to receive an accounting of the film's box office receipts or any return on his investment.
After encountering similar resistance to efforts to get an accounting of Daniels' next film, "Shadowboxer," Dash alleges he was offered, both orally and in writing, producer credits and ownership rights to any of Daniels' upcoming projects in exchange for keeping quiet about the money he was owed.
Instead, Dash claims that Daniels has yet to repay the debt or abide by the terms of their agreements. In his lawsuit, Dash is seeking compensatory as well as punitive damages for Daniels' multiple alleged breaches.
In addition to his breached agreements with Daniels, Dash's lawsuit alleges that Daniels' manager, Simone Sheffield, defamed Dash to other film industry executives by claiming that Dash was being sent to jail, causing "irreparable harm and injury to Damon and his reputation."
Generally, defamatory statements that indicate a person was involved in criminal activity or involved in behavior that it incompatible with the proper conduct of his trade or profession are considered defamation per se and damages are presumed.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a representative for Daniels' called Dash's claims "completely without merit."
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