According to Rolling Stone, the surviving members of SOUNDGARDEN have countersued Chris Cornell's widow Vicky Cornell and the Chris Cornell estate, accusing them of using revenue from the January 2019 Chris Cornell tribute concert for personal purposes for Vicky and her family.
The countersuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida, Miami division on Wednesday (May 6), claims that Vicky Cornell requested in late 2018 that Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd agree to perform at the "I Am The Highway: A Tribute To Chris Cornell" January 16, 2019 concert in Los Angeles without compensation. "To induce SOUNDGARDEN to agree to this request, Vicky Cornell represented that the revenue from the Cornell Concert would be used for charitable purposes," the complaint states.
Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd allege "that Vicky Cornell's representation was false in 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. SOUNDGARDEN is informed and believes and thereon alleges that Vicky Cornell knew that the representation was false, or exhibited recklessness or negligence as to its truth or falsity, for the purpose and with the intent of inducing SOUNDGARDEN into agreeing to perform at the Cornell Concert without compensation," the counterclaim reads.
According to the lawsuit, "Vicky Cornell's representation was material to SOUNDGARDEN in that SOUNDGARDEN had no interest in performing without compensation at a concert that financially benefited Vicky Cornell and her family. SOUNDGARDEN relied on its belief that the revenue from the Cornell Concert would be used for charitable purposes in deciding to agree to perform at the Cornell Concert without compensation. As a direct and proximate result of the breach of Vicky Cornell, SOUNDGARDEN has suffered damages as a result of Vicky Cornell's misrepresentation including lost reasonable compensation for the Cornell Concert and reputational harm."
The countersuit adds that "all recipient(s) of the revenue from the Cornell Concert have not been identified, and Vicky Cornell has failed to adequately respond to Counter-Plaintiffs' formal and informal inquiries about how these revenues were used and expended. In a Declaration in Support of her Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss filed in this action, Vicky Cornell states that $643,000 of the concert revenue was donated to the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medial Research Foundation. But Counter-Defendants have not identified the whereabouts or disposition of the remaining revenue. Counter-Defendants have so far refused to respond to inquiries relating to the Cornell Concert, including failing to provide any substantive interrogatory responses or document productions in response to discovery propounded by SOUNDGARDEN in this action relating to the Cornell Foundation and the Cornell Concert. Moreover, until shortly before this filing when the Cornell Foundation released its 2018 Form 990 (almost a year late), the Cornell Foundation had not publicly released any information detailing its financial position since 2017. Finally, as of the date of these Counterclaims, the Cornell Foundation's website still appears not to have been updated since 2017. A thorough accounting is required because Vicky Cornell promised SOUNDGARDEN that no portion of the revenue generated from the Cornell Concert would be used for anything other than charitable purposes as consideration to induce SOUNDGARDEN to play at the Cornell Concert."
Last December, Vicky Cornell filed a lawsuit against Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd, alleging the group owed Cornell's estate hundreds of thousands of dollars in allegedly unpaid royalties and the rights to seven unreleased recordings made before the singer's death in May of 2017.
Responding to Vicky's lawsuit, Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd claimed that they "don't have possession" of their "own creative work," and alleged that "Vicky Cornell has possession of the only existing multi-track recordings of the last SOUNDGARDEN tracks that include Chris Cornell's instrumental parts and vocals. All of the band members jointly worked on these final tracks, Vicky now claims ownership of the final SOUNDGARDEN album." They also insisted that all of the bandmembers, not just Cornell, are owed monies, but none of them will be paid until "expenses are paid and the partnership shares of earnings can be calculated and distributed."