Soundgarden Countersue Vicky Cornell, Claim She Misused Charity Concert Earnings [Update]
Update: Vicky Cornell has responded to Soundgarden's latest legal action. Her lawyer, Marty Singer issued a statement to Rolling Stone, which read as follows:
It is unfortunate that Chris Cornell’s three former bandmates – who have made millions of dollars from Chris’ hard work, talent and creativity – continue to attack Chris’ legacy, his widow, and his young children by making salacious, scurrilous, and vicious allegations in order to distract from the truth. Their transparently desperate counterclaims – which were intentionally filed shortly before the eve of the anniversary of Chris’ death and the eve of Chris and Vicky’s wedding anniversary – do not change the fact that they are the ones who have improperly asserted ownership of vocal recordings that were created solely by Chris and that they are the ones who have unlawfully withheld substantial sums of money from Chris’ widow and children (which is the very basis for the current lawsuit).
Suffice it to say that Vicky Cornell and the Cornell Estate vehemently deny the supposed “facts” contained in Soundgarden’s counterclaims, which will be met with swift legal action. It is ironic that Chris’ former bandmates now feign outrage over the 2019 Chris Cornell Tribute Concert conducted by Chris’s foundation – which raised over $1 million for the Charity Foundation and paid over $650,000 for EBMRF for medical research and which has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of who owns Chris’ vocal recordings – – when Soundgarden received over $78,000 to perform at the charity concert.
As Chris’ former band members are well aware, every single penny of the proceeds generated by the concert were properly allocated and accounted for and their statements are not only false and defamatory but demonstrate the depths to which Chris’ former bandmates are willing to sink to tarnish his legacy.
It is also ironic that, after spending substantial time and attorneys’ fees (paid for out of the monies owed to Chris’ estate) arguing that the Florida court system lacks personal jurisdiction over them, Chris’ former bandmates have now sought relief from that very same court system by filing their counterclaims.
Vicky would also add via her Instagram Stories, "As my beloved Chris would say, ‘They’ve reached a whole new low.’ A very easily disproven one…"
The surviving members of Soundgarden have countersued their late frontman Chris Cornell's widow, Vicky Cornell. In the lawsuit, the musicians claim that Vicky misappropriated proceeds earned by last year's tribute concert to the singer. They also respond to her previous suit against them.
Soundgarden's Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd — along with the band's business manager, Rit Venerus — are the named defendants in the countersuit. It was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, on Wednesday (May 6), as Rolling Stone reported and can be viewed in full here.
The suit contends that the group entered into a verbal agreement with Vicky to perform for free during January 2019's "I Am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell" event. The understanding described by the band was that the earnings would instead go to benefit The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation.
However, as the countersuit claims, the "recipient(s) of the revenue" for the tribute concert "have not been identified," even though the event is "believed to have raised many millions of dollars." The suit goes on to allege "fraudulent inducement" against Vicky, attesting that she kept the money for herself.
"Vicky Cornell did not have the intention of using some or all of the revenue from the [concert] for charitable purposes, but rather for personal purposes for herself and her family," a portion of the case reads.
Elsewhere in the suit, the group challenge Vicky's apparent contributions to Soundgarden's social media outlets. The band says it never agreed to give Vicky such access, and it alleges she has deceitfully "removed fan comments and has herself posted images and comments" to the pages.
In the filing, Soundgarden also continue their response to Vicky's initial lawsuit against the band. In December 2019, the widow sued the group over the ownership of seven unreleased Soundgarden songs. Vicky maintains that the tunes solely belong to Chris' estate, and not to the band.
"The Complaint is an offensive recitation of false allegations and accusations," the countersuit retorts. "Soundgarden categorically denies every material contention lobbed by Vicky Cornell, who filed her complaint — rashly and without good cause — with the true purpose of extorting Soundgarden into conceding rights to which she is not legally entitled, and of coercing Soundgarden to prematurely distribute Soundgarden funds to her."
Last year's "I Am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell" concert was the first time that Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd had reunited publicly since the Soundgarden frontman's 2017 death — ruled a suicide by authorities.
Vicky has seemingly addressed the countersuit via Twitter. On Thursday (May 7), she wrote, "You were so wrong to think you'd silence me by lies, intimidation and fear. That you might break me because its [sic] a gutwrenching [sic] time. He is always with me and you can't change the truth by lying."
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