The songwriter who discovered pop star Lady Gaga has won her lawsuit concerning the role that she played in the singer’s start in music.
A U.S. federal court awarded Wendy Starland $7.3 million. The court found that that Rob Fusari, who is Lady Gaga’s former business partner, broke a 2005 agreement to compensate Starland if she found him an “edgy and bold” future star, reports The Guardian.
“Fusari asked me to find an artist under the age of 25 who could be the female equivalent to the lead singer of Strokes. I had attended about 50 live performances and searched for countless hours online before finding an artist who fit the bill. I only brought Rob Fusari one artist for us to work with – and that artist became Lady Gaga,” Starland told Billboard.
Fusari reshaped the career of Stefani Germanotta, and Lady Gaga was born. Allegedly Fusari reneged on his promise to give Starland a fair share of the profits.
Lay Gaga and Fusari parted ways in 2010. By then he and his company had made more than $10 million from working with Lady Gaga. Later in 2010 Fusari filed a lawsuit for $30.5 million against the singer. In the lawsuit Fusari claimed that Lady Gaga denied him royalties. Fusari and Lady Gaga, who had once dated, came to a confidential agreement back in 2010.
Starland’s lawsuit was a four year battle in court. Finally on November 17 the courts ruled that Starland was entitled to 50 percent of everything that Fusari made from working with Lady Gaga. After a four-year court battle, a jury in Newark, New Jersey, ruled on November 17 that Starland was entitled to 50% of everything Fusari has received, or will receive, from his collaborations with Lady Gaga. Starland was also rewarded a one-off payment of $900,000, reports Page Six.
“It’s incredibly validating. I’m now placing a focus on my [own] singing career and am excited to share my new music and sound with the world,” Starland said.
Lady Gaga has supported Starland since the lawsuit was filed. She gave a deposition that supported Starland’s claims.
“My understanding was that Wendy and [Fusari] had initially agreed upon 50/50 perhaps before Wendy ever found me. Rob told me [that] himself. Wendy told me herself. They both spoke of the deal … in front of me,” Lady Gaga said in a deposition she gave in September.
Lady Gaga is busy promoting her fourth album, a collection of jazz duets with the legendary Tony Bennett.