Reported by Liku Zelleke
Stevie Wonder has had a long and illustrious career that has spanned over several decades, during which he has managed to reach the zeniths of the music industry. Over those years, he has also managed to make millions of dollars but he has also managed to lose a lot of it – mostly to people whom he thought he could trust and turned out to be otherwise. At least, that’s what reports suggest.
Back in September, Wonder filed a lawsuit against the wife of his former lawyer claiming that the lawyer had taken advantage of a blind man and included a clause in their contract which would allow him to earn royalties “forever.”
Wonder said that lawyer Johann Vigoda – who passed away in November 2011, aged 82 – had made him sign a contract when he was just 21 years. The contract allowed Vigoda and his heirs to earn 21 percent royalties from his works.
The payments continued to be made to Susan Strack, Vigoda’s widow, for two years after the lawyer’s death, until 2013, a fact Wonder claims he wasn’t aware of. When he realized the payments were still ongoing, he put a stop to it.
Strack then decided to head to court and sued Wonder for $7 million, claiming that she was entitled to six percent of all of the singer’s royalties because of the contract he had allegedly signed with her late husband.
Sources say that Wonder had, at one time, tried to have the clause revised years ago but failed in his attempt to have it done before the lawyer’s passing. This gave Strack the ammunition she needed to file her lawsuit against him. Wonder replied with a counter-suit of his own, claiming he had never agreed to the terms of the royalty and that he had trusted his lawyer to leave it out of the contract because “he could not read any of the contracts that Vigoda negotiated and prepared” since he was blind.
Strack fired back that her late husband had had a witness read the contract out loud to Wonder before he signed it.
Finally, a Federal judge said that Wonder didn’t have to pay Strack anymore and that he had the right to keep all of his money.