The Roots’ Questlove And Black Thought Sued For Allegedly Bilking Millions From Late Group Member
The two lead members of the hip-hop band The Roots are being sued for allegedly defrauding a former deceased group member’s widow.
According to The Philly Voice, Ahmir Thompson, better known as Questlove, and Tariq Trotter, also known as Black Thought, along with The Roots manager, Shawn Gee and an employee of the hip-hop group, Munir Nuriddin, are being sued by the estate of former bassist Leonard Hubbard and his widow, Stephanie Hubbard.
In the lawsuit, the defendants are accused of violating federal RICO laws by plotting to deny Hubbard his earnings from the band for the past 10 years. Also included in the suit are Live Nation Entertainment, The Roots on Tour, and several other associated entities that take care of The Roots’ business dealings.
Hubbard left the group back in 2007 after he was diagnosed with blood cancer. He died in 2021.
According to the legal paperwork filed, Hubbard and another founding member of The Roots, Malik B., were both given a 17% stake in Grand Negaz, Inc., a corporate entity that they used to purchase its trademark and finance business ventures, back when the group started in 1993. Hubbard had a 25% stake in a company that handled the band’s recordings and publishing, and he also had a 33% stake in its touring performance company.
In 2013, Gee, Thompson, and Trotter “falsely purported to represent all stakeholders” when the trio entered into several business contracts and opened several bank accounts to deposit money from the three companies. The lawsuit also accuses that through acts of “forgery, wire fraud, bank fraud, mail fraud, and criminal copyright infringement” Gee, Thompson, and Trotter received several millions of dollars through the band’s companies, some of which Hubbard was entitled to as a stakeholder.
Hubbard’s wife and estate are seeking restitution for the property, money, and benefits it says are owed to Hubbard and his estate, as well as attorneys’ fees and additional damages. The estate wants the court to inspect the defendants’ records regarding Hubbard and his estate, look over the accounting of their business transactions, and suspend the use of the Roots’ trademark until its value can be determined.
“I would hope that these guys would have enough respect and compassion for their former band member… to make sure that he receives compensation for what may have not been given to him in the past, and so that his widow can live a reasonable life,” said Luke Lucas, who is representing Hubbard’s estate, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.