Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath is facing a lawsuit from two original members of the band who claim he cheated them out of money and tarnished their reputations on Twitter.
Filene Center At Wolf Trap, Vienna, Va.
July 25, 2012
Matthew Murphy Karges, who played bass, and drummer Charles Stanton Frazier accuse the singer of breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, and unjust enrichment, among other charges, according to documents obtained by Courthouse News.
“Not content to simply misappropriate the Sugar Ray trademark by licensing it to a newly created shell corporation or unlawfully divert an additional 48 percent of the band's revenues into his own pocket, McGrath spent the last year engaging in a bitter campaign to destroy the personal and professional reputations of Frazier and Karges,” the suit says.
Karges and Frazier claim McGrath’s bad behavior didn’t just start in the past year, however.
The suit notes McGrath routinely shirked his responsibilities to the band between 1995 and 2010, and engaged in a variety of diva-like behaviors such as demanding $10,000 per live show, flying first class while the rest of the band flew economy and freezing band members out of recording sessions for the 2008 album Music For Cougars.
But the album flopped, and, “dissatisfied with his portion of the touring revenues, McGrath proceeded to engage in a concerted and measured effort to push Karges, Frazier, and [DJ Craig] Bullock out of the band for the purpose of capturing the bulk of their share of revenues for himself,” the plaintiffs allege.
Then, after Karges and Frazier went on hiatus from Sugar Ray, they say McGrath and guitarist Rodney Sheppard formed a new corporation and renegotiated a profit-sharing agreement in place through the existing Crown Town Entertainment, of which all members were equal partners, giving the plaintiffs a smaller cut of touring revenue.
“Because the fee is based on net rather than gross revenues, McGrath and Sheppard have the ability to manipulate the figures, including incurring extravagant and non-touring business expenses, without any available recourse by Crown Town,” the suit states.
The reputation complaints include alleged tweets from McGrath such as, “‘[S]ince those 2 left, we’ve become a world class band,’” and “‘Sugar Ray is very happy with Stan cooking taquitos at the Fair and Murphy moving unit for Aaron Rodgers ... glad you guys admittedly moved on.’”
The suit seeks a portion of touring revenue, and Karges and Frazier have asked to be allowed to rejoin the band, CN reported.