Vanessa Hudgens is having a lot of trouble losing her old entourage.
For the second time in the past 12 months, the High School Musical star has been sued by a former business associate who says she has been flaky with her royalty payments since giving him the boot. (View the lawsuit.)
Per documents filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Hudgens entered into a court-approved "production agreement" with Johnny Viera's Johnny on the Spot Productions that required her to share advances, royalties and merchandising revenue (everything, really) in exchange for his career-launching services.
Viera charges that, after Hudgens landed her HSM gig, she dumped her old talent team, including Viera, even after she had presented him with a photograph of her signed, "Johnny, thank you for everything, without you, I would be nowhere. We will make it BIG…Vanessa Hudgens." And at the bottom of the picture, she wrote, "*Sweet!*"
Is nothing sacred these days?
The lawsuit goes on to state that, because a court had signed off on the contract, Viera was able to negotiate a settlement with Hudgens in May 2006. But, the plaintiff claims, he could tell at the time that Hudgens' father Greg "would take every possible opportunity to deprive Viera of the benefits to be derived" from the deal.
The complaint states that, thanks to the settlement terms, he was able to wrangle $90,000 from Hudgens' first advance from Hollywood Records, but that he's getting the run-around with regard to $70,000 he says he's owed from a "second secret undisclosed advance."
Viera says that except for a single cut of her merchandising revenue from the first quarter of 2007, he's received no further payments.
Hudgens' camp has not yet responded to the suit.
"I guess primarily because of her father, as you can see from the complaint, they just took every opportunity they could to, and don’t know if I should use these words—screw him," Viera's attorney, Steven Lowe, told E! News Tuesday. "And it just became ridiculous after two years plus of just fighting with them over every little dime."
The spurned guy-behind-the-guy is requesting a full audit of the 19-year-old's finances and at least $5 million in damages. Greg Hudgens and Hollywood Records are also named as defendants.
In addition to breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud, Viera has tacked on a defamation charge, saying Hudgens' dad called him a "predator" in emails to third parties when, in fact, he has been "just the opposite—a consummate professional throughout."
"We were obviously willing to engage in more reasonable resolutions prior to filing the lawsuit,” said. “I would say he bent over backwards to try and reach other resolutions to this situation without having to go to litigation."
—Additional reporting by Claudia Rosenbaum
(Originally published Aug. 11, 2008 at 6:21 p.m. PT)