Christina Aguilera, the bubblegum pop star of the moment, is suing her ex-manager, Steven E. Kurtz of Marquee Management, for exercising "improper, undue and inappropriate influence" over her personal and professional activities.
The genie says Kurtz took more than his fair share of her ample profits.
In the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, which was filed last Friday, Aguilera claims Kurtz convinced the then-17-year-old ex-Mouseketeer to sign an agreement that made Kurtz her personal manager and entitled him to a maximum of 20 percent of all her "commissionable income" for an indefinite period of time.
Aguilera accuses Kurtz, along with his father, Normand, and an associate, Katrina Sirdofsky, of taking more than the 20 percent.
Aguilera also filed a petition with the state Labor Commissioner that seeks an order to void the agreement and deem it unenforceable. She is now signed with Don Henley's long-time manager, Irving Azoff.
Kurtz says in a statement the lawsuit is nothing more than a "transparent and misguided attempt" to avoid paying him.
He says it is "disturbing" that Aguilera "rather than seeking to amicably and gracefully end our working relationship," would assert "false, defamatory allegations against me and others who have steadfastly protected her best interests."
"I am 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 number-one position on the Billboard charts, she sold over 10 million records and had a successful headlining tour," Kurtz said.
Kurtz adds that he hopes Aguilera will use her "intelligence and independent mind" to "question the motives of those persons who have encouraged her to pursue this baseless litigation."
The lawsuit, which claims breach of fiduciary duty and fraud as causes of action, was filed on Aguilera's behalf by heavyweight entertainment attorney Daniel M. Petrocelli and David A. Steinberg of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp.
"None of [Kurtz's comments] have any merit," Petrocelli tells Inside.com, "and he's only making them to deflect attention from his own conduct."
This is the latest legal war over Aguilera's burgeoning bank account. In July, a woman claiming to be the popster's original manager sued Kurtz and others for a cut of Christina's income.