In a complaint filed Thursday (July 14) in Los Angeles court, attorneys for Phantom Labs say the design and production firm “faithfully performed” the work requested by Ye, deploying “countless hours of in-house talent” and also making advanced payments to numerous other vendors.
“Event after event, Ye and his representatives promised that if Phantom continued work on the budgeted and approved projects, Phantom would be paid promptly for the balance and the new work,” wrote Howard King, a well-known entertainment attorney who is repping Phantom.
“More recent events have made clear that defendants have no intention of paying Phantom,” King wrote. “Despite receiving multiple demand letters from Phantom, defendants continue inexplicably to withhold payment.”
Phantom’s lawsuit comes days after Billboard first reported that Ye was facing a different lawsuit from high-end fashion rental service David Casavant Archive, which claims that the superstar has failed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees and neglected to return a dozen “rare, esteemed pieces.”
In a statement, a spokesman for Phantom said the lawsuit was a last resort: “We are incredibly proud of the work that we did with Ye and are disappointed that such a fruitful relationship has come to this. A celebrity weaponizing fame and reputation to take advantage of eager collaborators is simply unacceptable.”
A spokeswoman for the rapper, who legally changed his name to Ye last year, did not immediately return a request for comment on Thursday.
According to Phantom’s lawsuit, the company also worked on four weeks of “Sunday Service,” as well as Ye and Drake’s “Free Larry Hoover” concert at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The firm says it was paid millions in fees over the years, but that “significant overdue invoices began to pile up” as time went by. Phantom says it continued to take on work in hopes of being paid the outstanding balance, up until Kanye’s well-publicized withdrawal from Coachella.
“Just weeks after promising to make Phantom whole from the reported $9 million payday he was to receive for performing at Coachella, Ye suddenly pulled out of the festival—not only reneging on promises to pay Phantom’s multi-million-dollar balance, but also saddling Phantom with an additional $1.1 million in Coachella-related cancellation fees and other expenses incurred doing work on Coachella at defendants’ request,” the suit added.
All told, Phantom says it’s owed $7,154,177, plus interest.