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Mike Tyson Sues Entertainment Giant Live Nation, Citing Embezzlement and More

Posted on 02/21/2013

by Boxing Insider

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson has filed a lawsuit against a financial services company that is owned by Live Nation, the mammoth entertainment company, alleging unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty, among other things.

His claim is that the firm beat him out of $300,000 through embezzlement and has engaged in activities that have cost him millions in possible future earnings. All told, the lawsuit seeks over $5 million in damages.

The suit, filed against SFX Financial Advisory Management, makes the claim that Tyson has not received a full accounting report, including money that the former champ and his wife Lakiha had lost, and that prevented him from coming out of bankruptcy.

SFX has returned some of the money in question, but wanted Tyson to sign an NDA, or non-disclosure agreement, which would have prohibited Tyson from discussing it or taking further action, but Tyson refused to do so.

The actions on the part of SFX precluded Tyson from being able to engage in certain lucrative business deals and put them in a position where they had to go out and get new advisors, according to the suit. The advisor at SFX who allegedly betrayed the Tysons’ trust was one Brian Ourand, who no longer works at the firm and had no comment with regard to the assertions in the lawsuit.

Among other things, what is alleged in the lawsuit is that “Defendants did not secure, protect, safeguard and appropriately apply the Tysons’ finances for their intended purposes, but instead misappropriated said funds for the benefit and enrichment of SFX/Live Nation.”

Tyson has become something of an entertainment commodity again. He enjoyed a revival in the movies by appearing in the major hit film “The Hangover” as well as the sequel, and recently has been performing a one-man show called “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth” that began in Las Vegas and has toured at various places around the country.

Live Nation is largely a concert promotion company but has broadened its horizons in recent years to the extent that it has signed musical artists to record deals, literally taking control of the entire process of promoting, while at the same time allowing the artists themselves to retain creative control and copyrights.

Some of the musicians they have worked with include Madonna, Jay-Z, U2, Shakira, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, One Direction, Taylor Swift, among others. Liberty Media is a major shareholder in the company, Irving Azoff, who had been rated #1 on Billboard’s Power 100 list in the music industry, stepped down as chairman in late December.

Live Nation owns over 100 entertainment venues across the world, in addition to the House of Blues chain. The company is by far the largest event promoter in the United States. The subsidiary, SFX, provides management for the venues and also for the artists who are under contract. In addition to booking acts into all the venues Live Nation owns, they also are responsible for booking Super Bowl halftime shows.

Tyson’s “Undisputed Truth” show, which has been produced on the Las Vegas Strip as well as Broadway, embarked on a national tour in the last week, but a few days ago there was an announcement that several dates had been scrapped due to poor sales, according to a publicist. Venues in Phoenix and Houston were allegedly not selling well, although plans, according tot he announcement, were that Tyson would continue the tour on February 28 in San Francisco.

That doesn’t appear likely to happen.

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