Sly Stone. Photograph: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
Sly Stone has been awarded $5m in unpaid royalties. The funk pioneer had taken out a lawsuit against his former manager and attorney claiming that money he had made had been diverted away from him over a period of 11 years spanning the 1990s.
Stone filed his lawsuit in 2010, under his real name Sylvester Stewart. It claimed that his manager Gerald Goldstein, along with attorney Glenn Stone, convinced him to sign an employment and shareholder agreement with Even St Productions, then used that arrangement in order to divert his royalties to themselves. The musician said he was not paid between 1989 and 2000.
The defence contested this case, claiming that Stone was aware of the contract he signed but broke an agreement to record new music. Despite this, the jury found in Stone's favour, and awarded $2.5 million in damages against Even St Productions, $2.45 million against Goldstein and $50,000 against attorney Glenn Stone.
Summarising the case, Stone's attorney Nick Hornberger said: "It was a classic case of Hollywood accounting, but I guess it would have to be called record industry accounting."
Gregory Bodell, lead attorney for the defendants, said: "We are disappointed in the finding and believe it will be changed by further proceedings."
The verdict will come as a relief to Stone, one of the most remarkable and influential artists in pop history. With his band the Family Stone, he fused together funk, psychedelia, rock and soul and was responsible for classic albums including 1969's Stand! and his 1971 masterpiece There's A Riot Goin' On. Yet his life was also fraught with problems, including drug addiction and financial difficulties. Recent press reports have detailed how the musician currently lives an impoverished life in a camper van in east Los Angeles.
In a rare 2013 interview with the Guardian, the famously reclusive musician claimed that he was busy trying to put together an albino backing band that could "neutralise all the racial problems". Maybe now he will have the funds to make that project a reality.