Damon Dash Files $25 Million Suit Against Director Lee Daniels
By Barbara Ross Hip-hop mogul Damon Dash has hit Hollywood director Lee Daniels with a $25 million lawsuit charging the filmmaker stiffed him on investments he made in his flicks.
Dash, who has blown through a $50 million fortune and is reported to be deeply in debt, claims Daniels owes him money on a half-dozen films, including “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Precious” and “The Paperboy.”
He also charged that Daniels cheated him out of executive producer credits on the movies.
“He never received money that Mr. Daniels promised him,” said Natraj Bhushan, Dash’s lawyer.
Bhushan said Dash pumped at least $2 million into Daniels’ films and got nothing in return despite the box-office success the movies generated. “The Butler” raked in an estimated $100 million, putting Daniels among the few African-American filmmakers to score such a triumph.
The lawyer said Daniels treated Dash’s generosity like a running tab at a bar, and that he repeatedly vowed to make good on the cash infusions.
Fed up with Daniels’ broken promises, Dash finally had no alternative but to take legal action and filed the suit in Manhattan Supreme Court, Bhushan said.
Although Dash did get producer credit on some of Daniels’ early films, like the 2004 flick “The Woodsman” starring Kevin Bacon and the 2005 crime thriller “Shadowboxer” starring Cuba Gooding and Helen Mirren, he says he was not compensated for the work.
Dash’s name is missing entirely from the roster of producers in the later films.
In addition to Daniels, Dash is also suing Simone Sheffield of Canyon Entertainment, who was a producer of “Shadowboxer.” He wants $1 million from her.
Dash, who made a fortune after founding Roc-A-fella Records with Jay Z — and then selling his share to the rapper — has been the target of a series of lawsuits in recent years for not paying his bills, including one from a woman who rented her Putnam County home to Dash for a year.