Lee Daniels Settles ‘Butler,’ ‘Empire’ Ownership Dispute With Damon Dash

Lee Daniels (Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP Photo)
Lee Daniels (Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP Photo)


(Hollywood Reporter) – Lee Daniels has resolved a sticky legal situation involving $2M lent by Damon Dash, which the Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder asserted was never fully repaid with debts rolled over, entitling Dash to participate in the success of such films as The Butler and Precious and the hit Fox television show, Empire.

On Tuesday, the parties filed papers dismissing the lawsuit. According to Dash’s attorney Natraj Bhushan, it was a “creative, fair” settlement that “calls for them to work together in the not-so-distant future.” Bhushan couldn’t offer any specific details given a confidentiality provision.

Dash filed his lawsuit in New York Supreme Court last year and claimed that he supported Daniels so that the filmmaker could produce The Woodsman. In return for the money, Dash says he got a written agreement that gave him executive producer credits, 50 percent of rights on the 2004 film and a guarantee that the investment would be repaid with interest from Daniels.

The music mogul says he helped promote Daniels’ career, got celebrities like Kanye West to perform in promotional support of films and reassured other stars like Mariah Carey to back Lee after the 2008 film Tennessee didn’t perform that well.


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