Sly Stone's Troubled Finances Detailed In Court

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Sly Stone's troubles worsen as details of the funk pioneer's finances are revealed in court. The problems detailed in a recent Billboard article attest to Stone aka Sylvester Stewart's long-rumored drug problems and several questionable financial deals that had left him near destitute and on the bad side of the IRS by the late 80s. Stone reportedly assigned royalties to friend and former manager Ken Roberts in a deal that left him without a large percentage of his income as he struggled to cover outstanding debts related to loans from Roberts. This was compounded by a decision to sell his publishing to Michael Jackson's MiJac Music. In a case against a laundry list of companies and former partners, the court sought to determine the liability of the major recording companies - BMI, Sony and Warner - accused of allowing Stone's income to be diverted to the financial institutions and businesses of Stone's would-be savior and former manager, Jerry Goldstein. Goldstein stepped in at the height of Stone's problems and became responsible for managing Stone and his finances; his firm took charge of receiving and disbursing royalties to Stone - money the singer alleges he never received. The fine print is detailed in recent court documents:

"Between December of 1988 and February of 1989 Goldstein, through his company Goldstein Music, made approximately 30 loans to Stewart in amounts ranging from one hundred to several hundred dollars. The money was used to pay Stewart’s living expenses and to fuel his drug addictions. Goldstein and attorney Stone gave cocaine to Stewart on several occasions. In late February of 1989, Goldstein, Topley and attorney Stone told Stewart that Goldstein had obtained a new recording contract for Stewart. They told Stewart there would be no more loans or drugs, and no recording contract, unless Stewart signed an agreement providing that their entity, Even Street, would become manager of all of Stewart’s personal and professional financial affairs. They promised to help Stewart and advised that because of the tax problems, Stewart should not have any assets in his name or receive royalties directly."

Sly Stone is reportedly left without recourse against the major corporations, according to the report:

In short, Stone may have made bad deals, but for the purposes of holding these companies accountable, the appeals court affirms that he has no standing to sue. He can't allege breach of contract against BMI because he assigned his royalty payments to Roberts. He can't make various claims against Sony because the record label "properly relied on" those 1989 agreements presented when figuring out where to direct royalties. Similarly, he can't sue Warner. Quoting the trial judge, the appeals court notes "the royalty companies were simply doing what they were instructed to do for years upon years.”

The result of proceedings which side more favorably in the interest of Roberts, is that Sly Stone loses the appeal and is now responsible for some of the legal costs incurred by Warner, Sony and BMI as a result of the trial.

Spotted at BB