They say that when it rains, it pours. But for embattled hip-hop diva Lil' Kim, it's been monsoon season these last few months.
A lawsuit filed on April 28 in New York State Supreme Court by songwriters Anthony Jeffries and Vincent Hart claims the diminutive female rapper owes both men big for the creative contributions they made to her 2003 album, La Bella Mafia. According to court documents obtained by "Celebrity Justice," both Jeffries and Hart — who are seeking $100,000 in damages — say they were hired by Lil' Kim (born Kimberly Jones) to help her write the tracks "Hold It Now," "Can You Hear Me Now?" and "The Jump Off." The suit also charges that the duo were commissioned to provide vocals for the song "Tha Beehive."
According to the lawsuit, Jeffries and Hart were promised $15,000 each for their work, but Kim never made good on the agreement. The suit alleges that compensation was eventually offered in December 2002 in the form of jewelry valued at $10,000. But court documents claim that not even seven months later, Kim demanded that the pair return the jewels "under a threat of physical violence." Jeffries and Hart acquiesced.
In addition, the suit — for breach of contract, civil-rights violations and unjust enrichment — claims Jeffries and Hart made several in-store and promotional appearances with Kim to support the album. Again, they say they were never paid for their work. Furthermore, both men say their images appeared in Kim's retail videotapes and DVDs, but that they were never asked to sign consent forms authorizing the use of such imagery.
Kim was convicted March 17 of perjury and conspiracy charges, for lying to investigators and to a federal grand jury about her involvement in a shooting four years ago at New York hip-hop station Hot 97 (see "Lil' Kim Found Guilty Of Lying To Grand Jury, Investigators"). Sentencing has been scheduled for June 24. Kim faces up to 20 years in prison.