Rodriguez Gets Pulled into Fraud Lawsuit over Song Ownership

Rodriguez Gets Pulled into Fraud Lawsuit over Song Ownership
Earlier this month, we caught wind of a lawsuit involving Searching for Sugar Man star Sixto Rodriguez. While two companies were caught in a battle over rights to 1970's Cold Fact, Rodriguez himself wasn't implicated in the suit. That has now changed, as the Sugar Man has been dragged into the fray, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The original source of the dispute is that Rodriguez allegedly signed an exclusive deal with Harry Balk's Gomba Music back in the '60s, but jumped ship to Clarence Avant's Sussex Records thanks to a fraudulent scheme where songs were credited to a fictional brother named "Jesus Rodriguez."

Gomba blamed Avant rather than Rodriguez, but now Avant's Interior Music Corp. has fired back by targeting the songwriter with a third-party complaint on Wednesday (May 28) in Michigan court. According to the company's papers, Rodriguez falsely represented himself, saying that he owned all the rights to his own songs. Balk apparently made public statements about cutting ties with Rodriguez.

More recently, Rodriguez apparently agreed to cooperate with Gomba's recent suit. Interior claims that in doing so, he has admitted that he falsely represented himself back in 1970 when he claimed to be be free of third party rights.

The deal from 1970 apparently included a stipulation that Rodriguez could have his royalties withheld in the case of a third-party claim on the songs. What's more, he apparently promised to cooperate in any legal proceedings, so he's now been summoned to court.

Based on this latest development, we're not quite sure how the songs came to be credited to "Jesus Rodriguez." In any case, all will presumably be uncovered by the court proceedings.