Arbitrator Richard P. Byrne, a retired California Superior Court judge, awarded R&B superstar R. Kelly $3.4 million in damages from tour promoter Leonard Rowe, according to a court document filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. Atlanta-based Rowe promoted Kelly’s 35-city Double Up tour last fall and winter.
After Rowe failed to pay Kelly several million dollars in tour proceeds that he was owed, Kelly began legal proceedings against Rowe while he was still on tour last February. In essence, Kelly, not wanting to disappoint his fans, performed for free.
“I agreed to let Leonard Rowe promote my tour because he convinced me he was an underdog who deserved a chance to prove himself,” Kelly said in a statement. “Like the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.”
Rowe has also been the target of a series of lawsuits filed by investors who accused him of bilking them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling them non-existent shares in the Double Up tour. Kelly’s contract with Rowe expressly barred the promoter from selling off shares in Kelly’s shows without the singer’s permission.
In his ruling, Byrne determined that Rowe had sold shares without Kelly’s knowledge or consent. As a result, in addition to awarding Kelly $3,397,410.38 in monetary damages, Byrne also ordered Rowe to take full responsibility for all the lawsuits.