Wiz Khalifa is seeking a court declaration ending a so-called “360-deal” as part of a lawsuit in which he contends that his former manager, Benjy Grinberg and his Rostrum Records, profited at his expense by self-dealing.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, contends that Grinberg and Rostrum acted as “faithless fiduciaries in direct contravention of their obligations to him.”
“An artist’s most trusted advisor is his or her personal manager. Generally, nothing good comes out when the manager decides to go into business against his artist. Unfortunately, that is the case here,” said Alex Weingarten, Khalifa’s attorney at Venable LLP.
His lawsuit claims that Grinberg and Rostrum induced him to enter into a series of transactions that amounted to self dealing.
The lawsuit notes that Grinberg began representing Khalifa in 20o4, when the recording artist was just 16. His lawsuit contends that Grinberg and his label “induced” him to enter into a “360 agreement,” which provided that Khalifa would be exclusive to Rostrum and Rostrum would share in his income streams as a songwriter and touring a merchandising. The lawsuit contends that with that contract and a series of amendments, Grinberg failed to disclose alternative arrangements that could be more beneficial to him, and instead tied him to an agreement that “reached for more than a decade into virtually every aspect” of his professional life.
Khalifa dropped Grinberg and Rostrum as personal managers in 2014. He claims that he can end the “360 agreement” under the California Labor Code’s seven-year rule.
In a statement, Grinberg said he was “very disappointed and surprised by today’s news. To witness an artist turn on you after supporting them for a number of years is very disheartening. This is an egregious lawsuit filled with inaccuracies, yet unfortunately people sometimes resort to these practices as a way of conducting business.”
Khalifa is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $1 million dollars, as well as punitive damages and attorney’s fees.