Rihanna Sues Former Accountants

Singer claims they cost her millions on her recent tour.

Rihanna filed a lawsuit this week against her former accountants in which she claimed that their mismanagement of her finances cost her millions of dollars on her 2010 Last Girl on Earth tour.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the suit filed in federal court in Manhattan accuses Rihanna’s former accounting firm, Berdon LLP, and two accountants of causing unspecified “significant financial losses.” The suit also claims that “gross mismanagement” of the singer’s finances cost her millions during the tour.

The lawsuit accuses the accountants of “financial mismanagement and other acts of omission,” with Rihanna (born Robyn Fenty) asking for unspecified damages as a result. A spokesperson for Berdon did not return requests from the Journal for comment.
In laying out the alleged mismanagement, the suit details Rihanna’s rise from a 16-year-old industry newbie who signed with the Island Def Jam Music Group after moving from her native Barbados to the U.S. Calling her a “financial amateur” who placed her trust in her accountants as she rose from obscurity to global fame, the suit notes that Berdon was hired to provide the then-16-year-old singer with “accounting, business and financial management services for all aspects of her rapidly growing music career.”

And, the lawsuit reads, “because she was a minor with no knowledge of the music industry or financial matters generally, Fenty placed Berdon in a position of trust and loyalty.”

Among the allegations are that the firm and the two accountants earned commissions based on the singer’s gross receipts, which the paper said is not a standard mode of operation in the industry. During the tour, that commission amounted to 22 percent of the tour’s total revenues, even as they paid Rihanna just six percent.

Because they were earning commissions described as “exorbitant and excessive,” the accountants allegedly concealed certain facts about Rihanna’s finances from her that might have caused her to call off the arrangement had she known about them. It also reportedly gave the accountants no incentive to counsel Rihanna to reduce expenses or put the proper financial controls in place, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Lawyers for the singer also blamed the accountants for an ongoing IRS audit of tax returns against Rihanna that cost her a “significant” amount to correct as a result of their negligence and errors.

In addition, the suit claims that by failing to create a proper budget for the tour, the touring company established by Berdon on Rihanna’s behalf, Tourihanna, lost millions of dollars. As a result of poor recordkeeping, the defendants are also accused of not taking into account Rihanna’s revenue and expenses and failing to maximize her “personal net worth and long-term wealth.”

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