Teen pop stars ‘N Sync responded Tuesday to the $150 million lawsuit filed against it last month by BMG Entertainment with a barrage of counterclaims charging its former manager Louis Pearlman with breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, non-payment of wages and conversion.
The band is seeking at least $25 million on the counterclaims.
The group also filed papers opposing BMG’s request for a preliminary injunction, including an extensive statement by band member Joshua Scott Chasez detailing the alleged actions by Pearlman.
As described in its brief, ‘N Sync members claim they have “been the victims of a con man, plaintiff Louis J. Pearlman, who has become wealthy at their expense.” Pearlman, they claim, “proceeded to sign the group to a web of agreements with entities he controlled which were utterly inimical to their interests. This blatant self-dealing ultimately gave Pearlman … the ability to take as fees the vast majority of the group’s income from all possible sources.”
In a supporting statement filed by Chasez, he said, “Pearlman posed as an unselfish, loving father figure and took advantage of our trust.”
Chasez also states that in 1997, Pearlman only gave them a $25,000 advance, and the following year they only got a small weekly salary while they were on tour. This was despite the fact that their debut album on BMG’s RCA Records sold 3 million copies by November 1998 and has gone on to sell more than 8 million copies in the United States.
In October, BMG, Pearlman and his company, Trans Continental Entertainment, sued ‘N Sync and Zomba Recording Corp., the parent company of Jive Records, in U.S. District Court in Orlando, Fla.
The lawsuit came in the wake of the group’s financial dispute with Pearlman, which culminated in the band members claiming that their contract was terminated and signing with Jive. The suit seeks to ban the five band members from recording or performing under the name ‘N Sync and to require Jive to return master recordings produced earlier this year.