Steven Kurtz, Christina Aguilera’s former business manager, whom the pop singer sued for fraud last week, has issued a statement alluding that he may file a claim of his own.
According to Kurtz, Aguilera’s suit “appears to be nothing other than a transparent and misguided attempt by Christina to avoid her financial and contractual obligations to me.” He also says that he finds it disturbing that the pop singer would make “false, defamatory allegations against me and others who have steadfastly protected her best interests.”
Aguilera filed the suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming that her legal representation by Kurtz and his company, Marquee Management, “was a sham” concocted to induce the 19-year-old singer into making him her exclusive personal manager. It alleges fraud and breach of fiduciary duty and seeks to nullify Aguilera’s 1999 management contract. Aguilera is asking general and punitive damages, all monies received by the defendants under the contact, and the costs of the suit.
In his statement, Kurtz says he is “very disappointed that Christina would wrongfully attempt to terminate our management contract when, during its term and under my management, she was awarded the Grammy for Best New Artist, each of her singles and albums achieved the No. 1 position on the Billboard charts, she sold over 10 million records, and had a successful headlining tour.”
Hiring Squabbles The pop star claims that Kurtz used his excessive influence to coerce her into inking a deal that granted him the right to collect a maximum of 20 percent of any “commissionable income” earned by the teen sensation. It also gave Kurtz permission to hire “other management professionals,” at no additional charge to Aguilera.
The singer further alleges that Kurtz hired his father, Normand, and another associate, Katrina Sirdofsky, then paid them money “in addition to and above and beyond the 20 percent commission.” Sirdofsky — who, along with Kurtz, is being sued for breach of fiduciary duty — purportedly earned $4,000 per week from Kurtz for her services.
Aguilera has reportedly signed on with superstar manager Irving Azoff, a fact that cannot sit well with Kurtz, who makes it clear that he will have no qualms about launching a countersuit.
“Knowing Christina’s intelligence and independent mind,” says Kurtz, “I am hopeful that, upon reflection, Christina will question the motives of those persons who have encouraged her to pursue this baseless litigation and isolated her from those who have contributed to her success.
“However, if Christina chooses to ignore the truth and her own better instincts and continues to dishonor my years of hard work and devotion to her very rewarding and successful career, I am ready, willing, and able to protect my rights and to seek redress for any damage to my professional reputation.”