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More Bad News for Kanye: Yeezy Hit With New Lawsuit and Tax Liens

Rapper turned designer Kanye West, now known as “Ye,” is in the hot seat again.

In a new lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based creative Katelyn Mooney is alleging that West and his Yeezy brand owes her over $300,000 in damages and unpaid invoices related to a photo shoot she was hired to produce in September.

According to court documents, Mooney was hired by West on Sept. 11, 2022, as an independent contractor to produce a shoot on Sept. 13, 2022, for Yeezy’s new line of SHDZ sunglasses for an agreed amount of $110,000.

The complaint stated that Mooney was hired to be fully responsible for every aspect of the photo shoot, including but not limited to hiring models, reserving studio space, procuring lighting, catering, pre-production and post-production. Once all assets were delivered to Yeezy on Sept. 14, 2022, Mooney submitted her invoice, as agreed.

Mooney is now claiming that she has only received $15,000 from Yeezy and has tried to settle the matter amicably. Now, she wants the rest of what she’s owed.

In the complaint, Mooney writes that she is a freelancer and mother of three. “Due to Yeezy’s failure to timely pay her, she has had to take out a significant loan and max out her credit cards just to cover her rent and other bills,” the complaint states. “This abuse of an independent freelancer was the exact type of exploitative conduct Freelance Isn’t Free Act (FIFA) was enacted to address.”

Mooney is seeking an award of “no less than” $110,000 for her original freelance production services, an additional $110,000 for Yeezy’s failure to pay and the breach of FIFA, plus $95,000 for “breach of contract” and “unjust enrichment.”

In a separate issue, West and his Yeezy Apparel company reportedly owe over $600,000 in unpaid tax debts, according to report by NBC News. In the report, NBC said that the state of California sent three separate tax lien notice letters in July 2021, in February and in September.

NBC News also reportedly found 17 government-imposed liens in California against three of West’s businesses and a charity created in his name dating back as far back as 2012. Four of the liens were labeled active with no indication of them having been terminated or paid.

This follows months of negative headlines for West. Most recently, Adidas confirmed late last month that it is investigating claims made in an anonymous letter from staff, which alleged that senior executives at the company ignored years of abusive behavior by the rapper and former collaborator.

The letter, which was reported exclusively by Rolling Stone last month, said that multiple disturbing incidents involving West took place over almost a decade. The letter stated that senior Adidas staffers knew of West’s “problematic behavior” but “turned their moral compass off.”

Adidas cut ties with West and his Yeezy brand in October after the rapper-turned-designer made repeated antisemitic comments. As a result, Adidas said it would “end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies” and “stop the Adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect.”

In the wake of the announcement, many retailers have spoken out saying they will no longer support the brand. Foot Locker was one of the first to take action, instructing its stores to remove all pairs of Yeezys from the sales floors.

TJX Companies, which owns off-price retailers T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, said last month it will not buy any merchandise from the brand. And luxury consignment resale company The RealReal announced it would stop accepting items associated with West and his brand.

What’s more, Gap, which ended its contract with Yeezy in September, said last month that it was taking “immediate steps to remove Yeezy Gap product” from stores. Gap said it had also shut down YeezyGap.com.

Before Adidas’ announcement, Balenciaga, CAA, Vogue and more big names revealed they were cutting ties with West as well.

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