Icelene Jones, the widow of Wu-Tang Clan co-founder Russell “Ol’ Dirty Bastard” Jones, filed a complaint against the Wu-Tang Clan for unpaid royalties, which Jones claims is a violation of contract, in Supreme Court in the state of New York earlier this week.
Wu-Tang Productions, which is owned and controlled by Robert “RZA” Diggs, a producer, movie director, and ODB’s cousin, allegedly failed to pay royalties to Ol’ Dirty’s estate for a decade before mailing the estate a cheque for $130,000. Jones acknowledged that the estate received money from Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp in 2019 and 2020, but says that both checks are insufficient to cover the debt.
The estate of Ol’ Dirty Bastard has released an official statement:
In light of the lawsuit filed by the Estate of Russell Tyrone Jones (Ol’ Dirty Bastard) versus Wu-Tang Productions, Inc., on Tuesday February 8th, it is important that we as the Estate address the false narrative headlines that have been circulated in the media.
Wu-Tang Productions, Inc., owned by Wu-Tang member Robert Diggs (RZA) has willfully refused to compensate or provide accounting records to the Estate of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, despite being contractually obligated.
The Estate will randomly receive partial checks such as the one sent for $130,000 in July of 2021 from Wu-Tang Productions but without financial records, we have no indication of the exact amount the Estate is still owed. It is crucial to understand that ODB’s widow and Administrator of the Estate Icelene Jones has been requesting these financial records for years and has a legal obligation to do so.
This is not an attack on Wu-Tang Productions, Inc., but a last legal resort we have had to pursue after being denied and ignored on this matter for over ten years.
The lawsuit is based on a recording contract signed in 1992, which said that ODB would get half of the net earnings from his songs. The other members of the crew were also promised 50% of the net earnings from their tunes. Jones is seeking royalties from merchandise and films, as well as $1 million in damages, plus interest, attorneys’ fees, and costs.