By Alfred Branch, Jr.
Claiming he manipulated drummer Tommy Lee and extorted the band, heavy metal icons Motley Crue this week in Los Angeles sued its manager Carl Stubner and his associates for more than $20 million for lost earnings and other damages. Ticketnews.com has obtained a copy of the lawsuit, which portrays Stubner as a virtual svengali who placed Lee in failing projects at the expense of Lee’s and the band’s reputation because Stubner profited from them.
The band described a litany of lost tour and promotional opportunities it lost from 2005 to the present due to Stubner allegedly not making “Lee available on an exclusive basis” to the band for interviews, concert dates and recording sessions. In addition to Stubner, Sanctuary Artist Management, for which Stubner is president, Sanctuary Group and Carl Stubner Productions are also named as defendants.
Stubner has allegedly “refused to commit” Lee for the band’s upcoming tour, so the drummer’s participation is unknown, a move that could have a huge impact on ticket sales. The Crue’s worldwide 2005 reunion tour in support of the band’s album Red, White & Crue grossed an estimated $30 million, making it one of the ten leading tours for that year. . .
Instead, Stubner allegedly steered Lee away from several Crue projects toward solo projects for which Stubner obtained a higher commission. In addition, the suit alleges that the band’s expense, Stubner also placed Lee in the failed reality shows Tommy Lee Goes to College and Rock Star: Supernova, both of which Stubner produced. The band claims the shows damaged Lee and the band, and “diminished” and “tarnished” their stature and reputation.
The suit also alleges that Stubner used Lee as a pawn to leverage more money from the band, in part by withholding Lee’s services by placing him in these and other solo projects. Stubner and the co-defendants did not make Lee available, even though they had allegedly promised to do so, for the band’s European and Southeast Asia tours last summer, which led to cancelled dates and millions in lost revenue, the lawsuit alleges. In addition, the lawsuit states that Stubner demanded 100 comp tickets per show during the tour, which allegedly he resold at “scalper prices.”
Stubner said in a prepared statement that he will “vociferously defend this lawsuit which is utterly and entirely without merit or basis.” He also claims he never represented the band in its entirety. “Neither Carl Stubner nor Sanctuary Artist Management Inc. (nor any other Sanctuary company) have ever managed Motley Crue or any members of Motley Crue other than Tommy Lee.”
Motley Crue’s attorney Skip Miller has been quoted calling the denial “absurd,” because Stubner and others were involved in meetings on the band’s behalf and were paid an estimated $1 million in managerial commissions from the band.
“Mr. Stubner and Sanctuary continue to manage Tommy Lee and make no apology for having effectively managed, promoted and furthered Tommy’s career with great success,” Stubner’s statement reads.