Rock Stars: Hide Your Wallets, The Sharks Are Coming!
You're not gonna need a bigger boat but you are gonna need a really good lawyer.
You probably know that this week is Shark Week on The Discovery Channel. So I thought it would be a good time to talk sharks. Only we're going to talk about a different kind of shark. These aren't the kinds with really big fins. Oh no, these are the sharks with really big balls. Balls big enough to swindle unsuspecting rock stars out of millions and millions of dollars.
This Attack Left A Real Sting: In 1995 Keith Moore, Sting's financial adviser for 15 years, was accused of stealing close to $10 million from the rock star without him even knowing. He used a complex financial system which included over 100 accounts used to take Sting's money. Moore then spent the cash on himself along with a series of bad investments. The result? A sentence of six years in prison where he was introduced to his new girlfriend Bubba and his pet soap.
Hey Sharks!....Eat Me!: Was Elton John an innocent victim just going for a swim in seemingly safe waters or was he diving in the deepest part of the ocean with chum hanging around his neck? Elton once sued his accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and his business manager, Andreew Haydon, claiming they mismanaged tour funds in the amount of $29 million. The court, however, saw it differently and Elton lost the case. His loss cost him over $10 million in legal fees and a lot of embarrassment. It was reported that Elton spent more than $60 million in under two years, including over $400,000 on flowers alone!
Do You Take This Shark To Be Your Lawfully Wedded Wife? Some have the misfortune of swimming with sharks while others have it even worse. They're sleeping with them! You would think with hits like "Two Tickets To Paradise", "Walk On Water" and "Take Me Home Tonight" Eddie Money would have it made in royalties alone. He did until he sold all his publishing to buy a house for his wife. It gets worse. She eventually threw Eddie out of the same house!
My Sister Married A Shark But I Got Bit!: This has to be the worst attack on a rock star ever. In 1989, Billy Joel filed a lawsuit to the tune of $90 million against his ex-manager Frank Weber. Weber also happened to be Billy's brother-in-law. Billy claimed Weber committed fraud and used him as a "personal bank" by steering millions of dollars towards investments that stood to benefit only one person and, surprise surprise, it wasn't going to be Billy Joel.
What followed was a series of complicated lawsuits that also involved Billy suing his own high-priced lawyers and an accounting firm. After a series of judgments, appeals and counter-suits, Billy only got $8 million back. Some would call Frank Weber a shark. Some would call him a scumbag. We'll call it even and say he's both.
Those are just some of the attacks on well-known rockers over the years. They've all survived to tell the stories but the scars remain. Who will be the next rock star to get attacked? Who knows? It could happen any time. These are, after all, shark-infested waters.