By Ken Berry
Pop singer Rihanna has been in the news lately for her role in an altercation involving her former lover, Chris Brown, who reportedly physically abused her when the two were dating. (Their on-again, off-again relationship may be on again.) Now the megastar is fighting another foe ‒ the accountants whom she blames for mishandling her finances and federal income tax returns.
According to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan last week by Rihanna (real name Robyn Fenty), the twenty-four-year-old singer and her touring company, Tourihanna, are seeking tens of millions of dollars in compensatory damages and loss of earnings from the accounting firm of Berdon LLP as well as two of the firm's former employees, Michael Mitnick and Peter Gounis. The lawsuit claims that Berdon caused "significant financial losses" between 2005 and 2010 by charging "exorbitant" commissions.
Rihanna goes on to say that Berdon LLP failed to recommend ways for her to cut expenses during her "Last Girl on Earth" tour in 2009. Because the accounting firm was paid commissions equal to 22 percent of the tour income, she said it had no incentive to do. Rihanna claims that she received only 6 percent of the tour income.
The lawsuit also alleges that Berdon LLP was negligent in filing federal tax returns for Rihanna, causing her to spend substantial amounts to fix the mess. At this time, the IRS is still auditing the singer.
Rihanna was born in Barbados, but moved to the United States at age sixteen to pursue a recording career. She has won four Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and also appeared in the movie Battleship in 2012.