Surviving members of Seattle based grunge icons Soundgarden have countersued Vicky Cornell, widow of the late Chris Cornell, and the Cornell estate for “fraudulent inducement,” allegedly using revenue intended to be raised for charity for “personal purposes for herself and her family,” according to the Rolling Stone.
In the suit, Soundgarden members Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd claim that the band formed an “oral agreement” with Vicky Cornell to perform pro bono during the “I Am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell” concert on January 16th, 2019 with the understanding that the proceeds raised would benefit The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation. The show was the first time the band had played together since the Chris Cornell took his own life. The suit alleges the “recipient(s) of the revenue” from the benefit concert “have not been identified.”
The concert, according to the suit, “is believed to have raised many millions of dollars” for charity, but the suit alleges, “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.” The suit also alleges that Vicky Cornell knew that her “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.”
After Soundgarden filed the suit, Vicky Cornell‘s legal team issued their own statement, calling the suit, “salacious, scurrilous, and vicious.” Vicky Cornell’s lawyer Marty Singer stated, “It is unfortunate that Chris Cornell’s three former bandmates – who have made millions of dollars from Chris’ hard work, talent and creativity – continue to attack Chris’ legacy, his widow, and his young children by making salacious, scurrilous, and vicious allegations in order to distract from the truth.”
The feud between the band and Vicky Cornell stems from a series of unreleased recordings Chris had done prior to his death. While the band claimed the vocals were to be used on the band’s next album, Vicky contended stating the recording were Chris’ “sole and exclusive property.” Vicky also accused the band for withholding royalty payments from their music.
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat