Toni Braxton recently filed a lawsuit against her former manager, Barry Hankerson, claiming he owes her at least $10 million for signing the singer to his label under false pretenses.
"Hankerson actively sought to destroy Braxton's relationship with Arista through underhanded 'double-talk,' telling Braxton that Arista was not interested in working with her anymore, while telling Arista that Braxton no longer wanted to record for Arista," states the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
In March 2003 the six-time Grammy Award winner ended her relationship with Arista where she was first signed in 1991. Braxton's debut self-titled CD on the label went on to sell 10 million copies. Each of her subsequent albums on Arista also achieved worldwide platinum or multi-platinum status.
In the lawsuit, Braxton accuses Hankerson of fabricating creative disputes over the selection of songs, producers and video directors. The lawsuit further alleges that after Hankerson secured the singer's release from all future recording obligations with Arista, he convinced her to let him issue a press statement saying she was leaving Arista for Blackground Records, his own record label.
Braxton also claims that she was duped into signing a multi-record deal with Blackground Records and was later deprived of her contractual rights by not receiving accounting statements and was misled about business deals Hankerson allegedly said he made.
According to Braxton's lawsuit, she made several attempts to fire Hankerson but he responded by engaging in a vendetta against her, insisting he remain her manager and refusing to communicate with any of the several managers she sought to employ. Hankerson could not be reached for comment.
In related news, The Essential Toni Braxton, a double disc collection of songs, including all 16 R&B singles from her years at Arista is slated to be released February 20th.