The surviving members of Soundgarden are countersuing Vicky Cornell, wife of the late Chris Cornell for ‘fraudulent inducement’. They are claiming she used revenue raised for charity for her own personal use.
The countersuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida. Band mates Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd made an oral agreement with Vicky Cornell to perform for free for the I Am a Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell concert which took place on Jan 19, 2019. Proceeds were to be donated to the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation, a charity that works to protect vulnerable children.
The suit alleges that the proceeds of the event, which amounted to millions of dollars, were not donated to the foundation but rather to an unidentified person. It further goes on to claim that “Vicky Cornell did not have the intention of using some or all of the revenue from the Cornell Concert for charitable purposes, but rather for personal purposes for herself and her family,” and that “representation was false, or exhibited recklessness and negligence as to its truth or falsity, for the purpose and intent of inducing Soundgarden into agreeing to perform at the Cornell Concert without compensation.” The members of Soundgarden claim that their participation in the concert and the fraudulent use of the money has caused them reputational harm.
Vicky Cornell’s lawyer, Marty Singer responded by calling the musicians’ accusations “salacious, scurrilous, and vicious.” He goes on to say, “Their transparently desperate counterclaims … do not change the fact that they are the ones who have improperly asserted ownership of vocal recordings that were created solely by Chris and that they are the ones who have unlawfully withheld substantial sums of money from Chris’ widow and children.”
Singer also claims that the band was paid $78,000 to perform at the concert.
The countersuit also addresses Vicky Cornell’s control of the band’s social media accounts. They claim she has taken over the accounts without permission and in doing so, has identified herself as Soundgarden. They further allege she has taken advantage of her access to remove comments and post images and content some of which is meant to denigrate the surviving members of the band.
The countersuit is a response to a suit filed by Vicky Cornell in 2019 regarding Chris Cornell’s seven unreleased recordings made in 2017, a few months prior to his death. Vicky claims that band is withholding royalties on those recordings and that there is no explicit agreement in place regarding who is entitled to those royalties.
Sounds like a lot of drama in the FLA! It is hopeful that Vicky and the band mates are soon able to reach an agreement that makes everyone happy.