Lil Wayne Sued by Former Manager for $20 Million in Unpaid Commissions
Lil Wayne is facing a massive lawsuit from his former manager, who claims the rapper owes him a ton of money in unpaid commissions.
According to court documents obtained by XXL on Friday (Dec. 11), Wayne's ex-manager, Ronald Sweeney, filed a lawsuit against the New Orleans-bred rhymer in Los Angeles County Court on Thursday (Dec. 10), accusing Waybe of breaching an oral contract and failing to pay owed commissions. Sweeney is suing for $20 million after being "deprived of their unpaid management commissions."
In the lawsuit, Sweeney says he was hired as Lil Wayne's personal manager back in 2005, after Sweeney was able to successfully get Weezy out of a "terrible contractual arrangement" with Cash Money Records, the label Wayne was previously signed to for years. Sweeney claims he renegotiated Lil Wayne’s deal, and secured for him a new recording agreement, as well as the return of his publishing rights, merchandising rights and touring rights. Sweeney's duties also allegedly included managing the Young Money Entertainment record label and the rapper's other Young Money business entities.
Sweeney reportedly managed Lil Wayne alongside Cortez Bryant, who tended to Wayne's day-to-day needs. Bryant is also mentioned in the lawsuit. Mack Maine, who was once an artist on Young Money and was later assigned the role as president of the label, is named in the lawsuit as well.
According to the documents, it became apparent in 2013 that Cash Money did not have the funds to compensate Lil Wayne as an artist or his label, Young Money. Thus, resulting in financial difficulties for Wayne. Weezy was advised that the only way he'd be able to obtain the money owed to him would be by suing Cash Money. Sweeney agreed not to abandon Wayne although he was not being paid at the time.
Instead, he made an agreement with Wayne, in which he "would receive 10 percent of the settlement proceeds from the litigation, in perpetuity, as well as 10 percent of all proceeds from the sale of any master recordings owned by the Young Money Label (“Young Money Masters”) (in addition to the 10 percent of other earnings that Plaintiffs [Ronald Sweeney and his Avant Garde Management company] were supposed to receive at that point), in exchange for Plaintiffs’ continued management of him [Lil Wayne]."
Sweeney continued to represent Tunechi and various aspects of his business dealings, but only received two to three payments from his Young Money label and "minimal payments from Lil Wayne."
In 2015, Sweeney represented Wayne when he sued Universal Music Group and SoundExchange for unpaid royalties owed to the rapper. In May of 2018, Lil Wayne successfully settled with both Cash Money, Universal Music Group and SoundExchange. Sweeney received two payments of their 10 percent of the Cash Money settlement and one payment on their 10 percent of the Universal Music Group and Sound Exchange settlement. The documents state that Sweeney didn't receive any further payments.
Around that time, Wayne also supposedly asked Sweeney to fire the artist's day-to-day manager, Cortez Bryant. Sweeney agreed and also assumed Bryant's duties in exchange for a commission increase from 10 percent to 17 percent.
After Sweeney terminated Bryant, Sweeney says Bryant and Mack Maine conspired a plan to force a wedge between the former manager and Wayne to ultimately get Weezy to fire Sweeney so Bryant could get his job back. The plan apparently worked and Sweeney was terminated in September of 2018.
In 2020, Tunechi apparently sold his Young Money Entertainment masters to Universal Music Group for more than $100 million. According to the lawsuit, after Sweeney was terminated, Wayne "failed and refused" to pay any of the outstanding commissions including the 10 percent management commissions for work done before May of 2018, and the 17 percent commissions for work done after May of 2018 once Sweeney took over Cortez Bryant's role and responsibilities. The lawsuit also says that Wayne has refused to pay Sweeney 10 percent of the settlement with Cash Money as well as Universal Music Group/SoundExchange.
Ronald Sweeney is suing for breach of oral contract, fraudulent inducement (when an individual is tricked into entering a contract), unjust enrichment (when a person is enriched at the expense of someone else), quantum merit (an amount of money to be paid for a service that was not legally specified in a contract) and accounting.
XXL has reached out to a rep for Lil Wayne for a comment on this lawsuit.
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