Soundgarden countersue Chris Cornell’s widow for “fraudulent inducement” over benefit concert

The surviving members of Soundgarden have countersued Chris Cornell‘s widow Vicky Cornell, claiming that she used funds intended for charity for “personal purposes for herself and her family”.

According to Rolling Stone, Vicky Cornell has been accused of “fraudulent inducement” in the countersuit filed on Wednesday (May 6) in US District Court of the Southern District of Florida, Miami.

Soundgarden members Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd claim that they had an “oral agreement” with Vicky Cornell to perform for free during last year’s I Am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell concert. They are said to have agreed that the proceeds from the show would go to The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation.

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However, the countersuit alleges that the “recipient(s) of the revenue” from the concert “have not been identified”. As per the suit, the show “is believed to have raised many millions of dollars” and alleges “fraudulent inducement” on Vicky Cornell’s part.

Chris Cornell. CREDIT: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

“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,” it claims, adding that her charitable “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.”

The surviving band members claim that they have therefore “suffered damages” and “reputational harm”.

Vicky Cornell’s lawyer, Marty Singer, has said that these accusations are “salacious, scurrilous, and vicious” in a statement.

“Their transparently desperate counterclaims … do not change the fact that they are the ones who have improperly asserted ownership of vocal recordings that were created solely by Chris and that they are the ones who have unlawfully withheld substantial sums of money from Chris’ widow and children,” it reads.

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Chris Cornell and his widow Vicky
CREDIT: Getty

Singer claims that Soundgarden received $78,000 (£63,000) to perform at the benefit show in January 2019, and that “every single penny of the proceeds generated by the concert were properly allocated and accounted for”.

He added that “their statements are not only false and defamatory but demonstrate the depths to which Chris’ former bandmates are willing to sink to tarnish his legacy.”

According to Rolling Stone, Vicky Cornell’s representatives weren’t immediately able to provide any evidence that Soundgarden received the aforementioned sum of $78,000.

The countersuit also sees Soundgarden accuse Vicky Cornell of taking control of the group’s official social media channels without permission. They claim that she “removed fan comments and has herself posted images and comments to publicly-accessible Band Social Media pages.

“Some of those postings by Vicky Cornell are intended to denigrate the Band and Surviving Band Members.”

Back in December 2019, Vicky Cornell filed legal documents that were reported to concern the rights to several unreleased songs, and what was described as “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in royalty payments that were “indisputably owed” to Cornell’s widow and children.

In response, Soundgarden “categorically [denied] every material contention lobbed against them including, most callously, that they were uncaring following Cornell’s death in 2017.”

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