Culture club

Boy George ‘conspired to defraud’ former Culture Club band member, High Court says

Boy George ‘conspired to defraud’ his former band member Culture Club out of nearly a quarter of a million dollars, he is alleged in a High Court dispute over the band’s tour money.

Drummer Jon Moss is taking legal action against the band’s lead singer, guitarist Roy Hay and bassist Michael Craig, after they were allegedly ‘fired’ by their manager in September 2018 after 37 years of ‘service’.

Mr Moss claims he is owed an ‘outstanding balance’ of $246,000.17 (£188,000) under the terms of a group agreement reached over the operation of his 2018 Life Tour.

Details of the ongoing case emerged during a remote High Court hearing before a judge, Deputy Master Marc Glover, on Monday.

Culture Club in its 1980s heyday. Left to right; John Moss, Boy George, Mikey Craig and Roy Hay (PA)

(PA Media)

The Culture Club members, best known for hits such as Do You Really Want To Hurt Me and Karma Chameleon, did not appear on the video link during the proceedings.

During a three-hour hearing, the judge granted a request by Mr Moss’ lawyer, Celia Rooney, to change the details of her request and to join two companies linked to Boy George in the case.

Boy George – whose real name is George O’Dowd – Mr Craig and Mr Hay have yet to file an amended defense to Mr Moss’ new claims, but it appears from draft court documents that they dispute his claim regarding the outstanding money.

According to a draft court document, the agreement between the band members – dubbed the ‘deal memo’ – meant that each would receive a royalty of $600,000 (£458,000) for up to 80 gigs on the Life Tour.

Mr Moss initially launched a legal action seeking a declaration from the court that the outstanding balance was held for him by the Performing Arts Agency (APA), acting as its agent.

Boy George ‘conspired to defraud’ former bandmate heard by High Court (PA)

(PA Archive)

Ms Rooney said in written submissions that the group’s booking agent agreed not to release it without Mr Moss’s consent or a court order.

But she explained that Mr Moss later learned that the remaining funds had been paid to a US company, You Give Me Life, Inc (YGML), following the settlement of legal proceedings in America in January 2021.

YGML and another English company, Other Places Drama LLP (OPD), had sued APA in California, claiming it was entitled to the money it held, Ms Rooney said.

Ms Rooney said it was a “direct breach of assurances” given by the APA and that Mr Moss had not been involved in the US proceedings.

She told the court on Monday that Boy George was the sole “officer” of YGML and one of two “appointed members” of the OPD in which he holds 75% of the voting rights.

Ms Rooney argued that the US lawsuits involving these “personal services companies” could only have been brought with the knowledge of Boy George or by people acting on his behalf.

In written submissions, she said that meant Mr Moss had been ‘effectively coerced’ into re-litigating his case where Boy George allegedly ‘conspired to defraud the plaintiff of nearly a quarter of a million dollars which makes the object of these proceedings”. ”.

She noted that the knowledge that MM. Craig and Hay had of the question of the procedure in the United States was unknown.

Mr. Moss is now seeking to allege that Boy George, YGML and/or OPD, allegedly breached the “deal memo” previously made on the Life Tour, acted dishonestly with respect to US settlement and entered into a conspiracy. to defraud Mr. Moss out of money he still believes is owed to him.

Ms Rooney explained that as part of the High Court litigation, the group had previously settled a dispute over whether there had been an ‘ongoing partnership’ since the formation of the Culture Club before a listed trial in December last year , with Boy George, Mr Hay and Mr Craig admitting there had been until Mr Moss’ alleged ‘eviction’.

Earlier on Monday, Lawrence Kelly, representing the three members of the group facing Mr Moss’ legal challenge, unsuccessfully requested an adjournment of the hearing.

He told the court he was unable to give ‘helpful answers’ on the case as he needed to ‘get up to speed’, having only been instructed by Boy George, Mr Craig and Mr. Hay only since Friday.

Ms Rooney objected to a postponement of the hearing, suggesting it could be a ‘tactical decision’ and arguing there was no explanation of when and why the three band members had changed from their former law firm Russells Solicitors.

Rejecting the adjournment offer, the judge said it came at the “11th hour” and noted that the previously appointed law firm had previously appeared not to have objected to requests sought by the attorneys for Mr. Moss on Monday.

A new preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for May 3.