*Spike Lee was sued in New York federal court today by the directors of three health and pension plans who claim he hasn’t made sufficient contributions.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the complaint against Lee, Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks, and Black Butterfly Productions says an audit of the companies’ books found nearly $45,000 in unpaid contributions for a period between September 2007 and March 2010. The lawsuit makes reference to Lee’s 2008 film, Miracle at St. Anna.
The plaintiffs manage health and pension plans for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Studio Transportation Drivers and the American Federation of Musicians.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner writes:
Lawsuits over health and pension contributions are common, though it’s not often that such actions attempt to pierce the corporate veil and attempt to hold an individual officer personally liable.
Here, the lawsuit reports that Black Butterfly is a signatory to collective bargaining agreements, and that Lee “exercised dominion and control over Black Butterfly” and “treated the assets of Black Butterfly as his own; and that in so doing, used Black Butterfly’s corporate assets while failing to pay just debts.”
It’s further asserted that “through Lee’s fraudulent operation and control of Black Butterfly, Lee is liable to the Directors and Black Butterfly and Lee are obligated to pay to the Directors all unpaid contributions, interest, liquidated damages, audit costs, legal and attorneys’ fees as set forth in the CBAs and Trust Agreements.”
View the full complaint here.