Oringer: If He Broke Rules, Recall Ruben

ByABC News
September 5, 2003, 4:25 PM

Aug. 14 -- As the only person not running for governor of California, I'm demanding a recall vote not in the Golden State gubernatorial race, but in American Idol.

American Idol winner Ruben Studdard should have his title revoked if he really did receive money in exchange for wearing 205 Flava Inc. shirts during his appearances on the Fox talent competition, as has been reported.

Contestants on the TV show are banned from accepting outside contracts, according to a statement by Michael Jaffa, vice president of business and legal affairs for American Idol Productions Inc.

A lawsuit recently filed by Willie and Frederick Jenkins, owners of the Birmingham, Ala.-based 205 Flava Inc. clothing company, contends Studdard approached them with the idea of receiving a fee in exchange for donning their duds on national television.

The designers contend Studdard asked for compensation totaling $10,000. They also claim checks were written for $1,000 a week. These eventually escalated to $1,500 per week as Studdard advanced in the competition, the suit says.

The Jenkinses go on to allege that these checks were made out to Studdard's brother and manager to keep the paper trail from leading back to the singer.

This legal wrangling originally began with a suit filed by Studdard himself, who alleged the Jenkins brothers were using his image for profit. Studdard's suit contends that 205 Flava Inc. kept his photo on its Web site, which has enabled the company to garner more than $2 million in sales.

Thus far, both suits have been filed in court and the Jenkinses' lawyer, LaVeeda Morgan Battle, held a news conference where she revealed what she said were copies of the checks to Studdard's brother.

Studdard has yet to respond to the allegations on his own. His attorney, Byron Perkins, has told The Associated Press, "The public will hear from us soon," and has declined further comment.

Ron Edwards, Studdard's personal manager, told me likewise, saying, "No comment pending things we're working on."