A legendary comic book creator has filed a billion-dollar lawsuit against his former business partners.
He says that the deal's final details were not disclosed to him before he signed, and because Lee was declared legally blind in 2015, that he could not see the document, and was therefore tricked into signing away "the exclusive right to use Lee's name, identity, image and likeness on a worldwide basis in perpetuity". He claims the company and two of its officers conspired to steal his identity and likeness in a scheme involving a sale to a Chinese client.
"Pursuant to their conspiracy and agreement, Defendants, and each of them, knowingly made material misrepresentations of fact, and forged or fraudulently obtained a signature from Lee to give POW!" Entertainment CEO Shane Duffy and co-founder Gill Champion failed to fully disclose to Lee details of the firm's sale a year ago to Hong Kong-based Camsing International.
POW! was acquired in 2017 by Hong Kong-based Camsing International, and Lee says POW! "Lee has yet to provide anyone with the exclusive right to use his identity, image, name and likeness".
The suit draws attention to the death of Lee's wife last July, and his degenerative eye condition which has caused his poor eyesight, suggesting he could not have read the documents.
The complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court and published by several U.S. entertainment media outlets, alleges that POW! Lee is also suing his ex-business manager for Jerardo Olivarez for fraud. The complaint also states that Camsing was given access to his Twitter, Facebook, Instagram accounts against Lee's wishes. If someone had read the document to Lee, the suit adds, "he would not have knowingly signed it".
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"From now on, I will depend on you, my dear fans, to protect and defend me", Lee said.
A detailed exposé in The Hollywood Reporter last month alleged that Lee has been the victim of elder abuse at the hands of his daughter J.C. and others who have sought to profit from his fame and fortune.
Lee seems intent on regaining control of his life.
Lee is seeking compensatory and punitive damages totalling $1 billion, rescission of the illegitimate document and injunctive relief.
Lee was allegedly robbed by Olivarez, whom he claims coordinated plans to steal a significant sum before illegally purchasing property in his name.