Random House Inc. is suing Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, alleging that the hip-hop mogul never paid back a $300,000 advance for a memoir he never completed.
In papers filed Monday at the state Supreme Court in Manhattan, the publisher alleged that Combs and his corporation, Bad Boy, have “simply kept the money they never rightfully earned.” Random House is seeking the advance’s return, plus interest.
“Random House has seldom resorted to a legal course of action with its prospective authors who don’t write the books we have contracted for, but Mr. Sean Combs has left us no choice,” the publisher said in a statement Tuesday.
“He signed an agreement with our Ballantine imprint in 1998 to write his autobiography, which he agreed to complete and deliver to us in 1999. We now have waited for over five years and have received neither the manuscript nor the return of the money we advanced Mr. Combs.”
Combs’ publicist, Rob Shuter, said Tuesday that there was a “disagreement with Random House that we hoped would be resolved without litigation. We anticipate that this will be resolved quickly.”
According to the court papers, Combs signed with Random House in 1998 and then arranged on his own to collaborate with Mikal Gilmore, a contributing editor to Rolling Stone and author of the acclaimed “Shot in the Heart.” A manuscript was to be completed by Dec. 15, 1999, but the deadline passed and, in early 2000, Random House notified Combs that he was in breach of contract and that the publisher wanted the money back.
“Year after year,” the papers allege, the publisher sent follow-up letters.
Combs is not the first musician who failed to meet the deadline for delivery of his life’s story. Years ago, Mick Jagger received a seven-figure advance to write his memoirs. He eventually returned the money, saying he couldn’t remember anything of significance.