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Lil Kim's ex-manager: Hip-hop star frustrated licensing deals

It is fair to assume that most entertainers in Los Angeles would welcome lucrative endorsement deals. But according to a lawsuit recently filed against her, Lil Kim is not one of those entertainers.

In a lawsuit filed last week, the hip-hop singer's former business manager claims that Lil Kim botched several endorsement opportunities, thereby costing him money by depriving him of his cut of her earnings.

According to the business manager, his company entered into a licensing agreement with Lil Kim in August. He claims he lined up several offers, including a shoe line with designer Steve Madden, a vodka beverage, an energy drink and a fragrance.

The business manager claims that Lil Kim frustrated each of these deals by refusing to participate in business negotiations. He claims she would not show up for meetings because she felt she was not being compensated appropriately for her time. At one point, he claims, she would not even return his calls.

He has asked for $15 million in damages. Lil Kim has previously alleged that he lined up bad licensing deals for her; she sent him a cease-and-desist letter at an unspecified point in the past.

Some elements of this case call to mind the famous contracts case of Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, 222 N.Y. 88, 118 N.E. 214 (1917). In that case, a famous designer of womenswear alleged that her manager was not using his best efforts to secure her licensing deals and merchandising opportunities. The case is noteworthy for its ruling that one’s willingness to use best efforts and good faith in business dealings can be read into every contract, regardless of whether it is explicitly stated in the contract itself. We are curious to see if this case, or its holding, becomes an element in the case at hand.

Source: The New York Daily News, “Lil Kim sued by ex-business manager for $15 million in botched deals,” Zayda River, May 5, 2013