Billy Joel sues manager for $90 million


NEW YORK -- Singer Billy Joel, whose pop hits have included 'Honesty' and 'Matter of Trust,' filed a $90 million lawsuit Monday accusing his manager and former brother-in-law of fraud and breach of contract.

The lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, accuses manager Frank Weber, the brother of Joel's ex-wife, Elizabeth, of duping the singer out of about $30 million. It seeks $60 million in punitive damages.


'All this came to light when we got the results of an investigative audit conducted in July and August,' said Leonard Marks, an attorney for Joel, a platinum- and gold-record holder with hit such as 'Piano Man' and 'The Stranger.'

Among the defendants named in the lawsuit are Weber, his wife, Lucille, and his video company, Hicksville Productions.

Joel, 40, who divorced his first wife and in 1985 married model Christie Brinkley, was in Europe Monday promoting his upcoming album 'Storm Front.'

'He had such deep trust in Weber that he named him godfather of his daughter,' Marks said of Joel and Brinkley's daughter, Alexa Ray, 3.

The lawsuit accuses Weber and his wife of stealing $2.5 million by taking loans from Joel's money after Joel granted him power of attorney and never repaying them. It also accuses Weber of losing more than $10 million of Joel's money through speculative investments, such as horse breeding, despite the singer's instructions to invest conservatively.


In court documents, Joel accused Weber of double-billing him for his music videos and improperly mortgaging the singer's copyrights to the tune of $15 million.

'Weber's rampant abuse of his position as Joel's fiduciary has taken many forms,' court papers said.

'Weber's gross misconduct, fraudulent activities and unlawful diversions, as herein alleged, have taken place during a period in which, as Joel's manager, Weber was paid millions of dollars annually in management commissions,' the papers said.

Weber has been Joel's manager since 1980, when he took over from his sister, Elizabeth.

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