(CN) - The rap group Cali Swag District claims an independent record label owner duped them into jumping ship with Capitol Records in favor of his label in the wake of their platinum single "Teach Me How to Dougie," but never paid their $100,000 advance, charged production fees for already completed masters and refused to market the group's music.
Dairold Potts, Wytoni Dillon and 319 Music Group claim in Los Angeles Superior Court that Louis Burrell, NYLA Entertainment and Sphinx Music Entertainment convinced them to terminate a distribution deal the group had with Capitol Records.
"Teach Me How to Dougie" shot to number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and climbed even higher on other rap and R&B charts, according to the complaint.
Burrell allegedly convinced the group to sign with him, claiming he would use his contacts in the industry to bring them national attention. Burrell convinced plaintiffs that his independent labels "were more capable of marketing and distributing Cali Swag District's sound recordings and albums throughout the world" than a major label like Capitol, the complaint states.
Once he became co-manager of the group, Burrell convinced plaintiffs to sign over more rights to the group's music based on a 50/50 profit sharing deal and the promise of a $100,000 advance.
But Burell never marketed Cali Swag District as promised, refused to pay the $100,000 advance and only paid "nominal amounts that bear no nexus to the revenues earned by the Group," the complaint states.
And in a "recent shocking discovery," the group claims Burrell, NYLA and Sphinx incurred unauthorized expenses tied to the group's debut album, which was already completed at the time.
Defendants allegedly fabricated and manipulated expense reports in an effort to stall paying plaintiffs' share of profits from their debut album "The Kickback," released in 2011.
"Defendants claimed to have expended tens of thousands of dollars in connection with the production of three master sound recordings which had already actually been completed," the complaint states.
Plaintiffs seek an accounting and damages for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, fraud and misrepresentation. They are represented by Michael Trauben of Singh Singh & Trauben in Beverly Hills, Calif.