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Cardi B Claims Abuse of Trust, Exploitation in Counter-Suit Against Former Manager

Followers of Klenord “Shaft” Raphael on Instagram may have noticed that, despite an ongoing lawsuit against star rapper Cardi B, the KSR Records founder has been boasting of her chart achievements. That may cease following the latest legal salvo filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

In the counter-suit, filed on July 5 by the artist, Cardi B (real name: Belcalis Almanzar) contends that the original suit by Shaft against her new managers, Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “Pee” Thomas, “arises out of the deceitful and disloyal conduct of a self-serving and controlling personal manager.” She goes on to assert that “trust was abused” during their professional time together. Shaft began managing Cardi B in 2014 while she was still employed as an exotic dancer and orchestrated her joining the cast of VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop” reality show.

As Cardi B’s star rose, “so too did Shaft’s greed,” says the suit. “Shaft proved increasingly willing to take advantage of, deceive and exploit Ms. Almanzar, and he had the ability to do so through complete control over all legal documents and virtually every dollar that Ms. Almanzar earned in the entertainment business.”

Financial arrangements between KSR and Atlantic Records are also detailed in the suit, which reads: “As Ms. Almanzar’s talents were increasingly being recognized by the world, Shaft unconscionably used his position
of trust as a fiduciary to extract a larger portion of Ms. Almanzar’s earnings. In the deal that Shaft orchestrated with Atlantic Recording Corporation, Shaft inserted his wholly-owned entity KSR to be paid 50% of all of Ms. Almanzar’s record royalties and required Ms. Almanzar to assign all copyrights in any audio or video recordings to KSR as well as 50% of Ms. Almanzar’s authored compositions.”

In addition, the artist claims KSR was “negligent” in their record-keeping responsibilities despite multiple requests to show a proper accounting of funds. Reads the suit: “Shaft and/or KSR eventually prepared rough, cryptic spreadsheets for individual performance dates in 2017, which failed to include much of the most basic expense information necessary to determine whether even these inadequate sketches were accurate or reliable.”

In April, Shaft sued Cardi B along with Solid Foundation, the management wing of Quality Control, which is headed by Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “Pee” Thomas, demanding judgement against the rapper and damages of no less than $10 million. Shaft claimed that Cardi B froze him out of her career and repeatedly defamed him.

In March, Variety broke the news that Cardi B was being represented by Coach K and Pee.

Paul LiCalsi of the firm Robins Kaplan LLP is litigation counsel to Cardi B.

Read the lawsuit below: 

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