Tommy Lee Quits Motley Crue Amid Lawsuit Against Band’s Manager

Court papers reveal drummer's departure; 'I hope we can work this out amongst ourselves,' he says in statement.

It’s been one hell of a week for Tommy Lee.

First, Kid Rock clocks him at Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards (see “Tommy Lee Explains His Side Of The VMA Scuffle, Apologizes To Alicia Keys” and “Kid Rock, Tommy Lee Battle At VMAs — Watch The Video”), and now, it seems, he has left the legendary band he helped form back in 1981 — Mötley Crüe.

It remains unclear when Lee quit, and under what circumstances, but according to legal documents obtained by MTV News, “Lee recently informed [bassist Nikki] Sixx and [guitarist Mick] Mars that he was resigning from the band, and his resignation was accepted.” The suit names Sixx and Mars as “shareholders of Mötley Crüe, Inc.” Lee’s publicist denied MTV News’ requests for an interview with the outspoken drummer.

Despite what is contained in the court documents, Lee said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon (September 13) that hopes he can work everything out with the band.

“I am a founding member of Mötley Crüe,” he said. “Based on internal band issues aired publicly, my future with the band is uncertain. I have tried to meet with my bandmates repeatedly without success but have informed them that I’m not walking away from my band of 25 years. It troubles me that the current legal issues which were filed by the corporations against my personal manager are separating us and causing more dysfunction. I hope we can work this out amongst ourselves.”

The revelation comes in an amended complaint to the band’s lawsuit against artist manager Carl Stubner and his three companies: Sanctuary Group Inc., Sanctuary Artist Management Inc. and Carl Stubner Productions Inc. The new document, filed this week in Los Angeles Superior Court, contains fresh evidence in the case, including statements from Crüe frontman Vince Neil, Sixx and Mars, as well as 10 sworn statements from members of the band’s camp.

The suit claims Stubner breached his fiduciary duties to Mötley Crüe “by orchestrating, devising and implementing a self-serving scheme” in which he “promoted Lee’s solo activities to the harm and detriment of the band.” Stubner was one of the Crüe ‘s three managers and also handled Lee’s interests outside the band.

According to the suit, Stubner used his position as the band’s and Lee’s manager to demand higher commissions and even to score free tickets to the band’s concerts, which the bandmembers allege he later resold at “scalper” prices for his own benefit.

Sanctuary and Stubner also responded to the suit in a statement issued Thursday. “Despite the overwhelming evidence that both Carl Stubner and Sanctuary were the managers for Tommy Lee and no one else, in an effort to get something that certain members of Mötley Crüe and their representatives want, but are not legally entitled to, they have once again filed a spurious lawsuit which Carl Stubner and Sanctuary will vigorously defend and seek the appropriate relief from these baseless attacks in the press. Tommy Lee stands by Carl Stubner and Sanctuary.”

The suit seeks more than $20 million in compensatory damages for lost earnings and profits and requests additional punitive damages because of Stubner’s “despicable” actions, which were undertaken “fraudulently, maliciously and oppressively.” The filing accuses Stubner of promoting the drummer’s career at the expense of the band’s. It also claims that the manager advised Lee to participate in NBC’s “Tommy Lee Goes to College” (see “Tommy Lee Flaunts His ‘Peacock’: How His Reality Show Came To Be” ), knowing that his appearance on the program would conflict with the dates on the band’s 2005 Red, White and Crüe Tour (see “Mötley Crüe In For The Long Haul, Aim To Record ‘A Sgt. Pepper’ Next Year” ). The television show prevented Lee from promoting the band’s tour and album, the suit claims.

After “Lee’s foray into his solo enterprises and reality television had already turned negative,” the suit alleges Stubner informed the band that it would have Lee at its disposal for future touring and recording. The band, at the time, felt Lee had been overexposed, which chipped away at the Mötley Crüe brand as well as the band’s reputation. But according to the filing, Stubner advised Lee to continue his outside pursuits and ultimately encouraged the rocker to participate in CBS’ “Rock Star: Supernova” series, thus making him even more unavailable for the Crüe’s European tour (see “Tommy Lee Picks Lukas Rossi To Front ‘Rock Star’ Band” ). The band ended up scrapping those dates, resulting in ticket and merchandise losses of more than $8 million.

The band also lost money last summer, when it was forced to cancel its Southeast Asian trek because Lee wasn’t free to travel with them. The suit further claims Stubner convinced Lee to continue on his solo path, and “to refrain from recording the new album,” actions that have “significantly delayed the release of the band’s new album.” Stubner, the suit contends, continues his refusal “to commit Lee to the 2007 tour dates” they had planned.

[This story was originally published at 2:01 pm E.T. on 09.13.2007]