Claiming his onetime business manager not only forged documents but owes him more than $250,000 in misappropriated monies, "American Idol" season-two victor Ruben Studdard filed a formal complaint accusing Ronald Edwards of identity theft and forgery.
According to The Associated Press, the crooner — dubbed a "Velvet Teddy Bear" by legendary singer Gladys Knight — filed a complaint with Birmingham, Alabama, police on Monday, claiming that Edwards forged paperwork between August 2003 and November 2004, granting himself power-of-attorney privileges.
In addition, Studdard alleges that Edwards used his credit cards, racking up a $105,000 bill. The singer also charged his former business manager with writing out checks to himself to the tune of $150,000. $22,000 in checks were stolen and later deposited in Edwards' account, the AP reports.
Edwards, Ruben's godfather, denies the allegations and countered that Studdard actually owes him money.
Back in March, Studdard's lawyers slapped Edwards with a lawsuit, alleging the former business manager withdrew checks that add up to $90,000 from Studdard's account, willfully used his credit cards and misused $246,000 without ever getting the vocalist's consent; the suit seeks unspecified damages.
Edwards' attorney said his client came to Studdard's aid when the "Idol" contest starting heating up. He explained that Edwards used his power of attorney to help Studdard, paying his rent and cell-phone bills; he also served as his accountant. Edwards subsequently filed a counterclaim.
According to the AP, Edwards filed a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy earlier this month, prompting a stay in the lawsuit.
One of Studdard's attorneys, Vic Hayslip, characterized Edwards' bankruptcy filing as an effort to avoid giving a deposition in the lawsuit, an assertion that Edwards' lawyer Glennon Threatt dismissed as erroneous.