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Garth Brooks Sued by Former Business Partner

Garth Brooks
Erika Goldring, Getty Images

Megastar Garth Brooks is being sued by a former business partner who claims that the iconic entertainer’s good-guy persona hides a darker side.

TMZ reports that Lisa Sanderson — who worked with Brooks for twenty years — has filed suit against the singer seeking close to half a million dollars in unpaid salary and bonuses, claiming that he failed to come through on promises of future earnings if she came to work with him.

Sanderson served as the Chief Executive Officer of Red Strokes Entertainment, a film and television company that Brooks founded. The company was named for Brooks’ song ‘The Red Strokes,’ which appeared on his album ‘In Pieces’ and on which Sanderson was one of the writers and publishers. According to her bio page on TNT.com, the pair produced ‘The Lamb’ for Paramount Pictures and had a number of projects in development for various television entities.

The company wound down its business gradually over 2010 and 2011, after which Red Strokes Entertainment filed a lawsuit against Sanderson in Tennessee seeking to recoup loans the company allegedly made to her that totaled close to $225,000. Sanderson’s response to that lawsuit claimed that those sums had been gifts, not loans, and that she was further owed for production fees and a retirement package.

In her new lawsuit, Sanderson says she was a successful TV producer and that Brooks latched onto her at the height of his musical success in an effort to start an acting career for himself. But she claims the singer’s rampant egomania scuttled one great opportunity after another — including deals with Disney and Fox — after he made outrageous demands.

Sanderson’s filing states that Brooks was offered the role of a sniper in the film ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ but turned it down because “he wanted to be the star and was unwilling to share the limelight with … Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, and Edward Burns.” Her brief further alleges that Brooks turned down a role in ‘Twister’ because he felt the tornado was the star of the film, instead of him.

In the court documents, Sanderson says Brooks has crafted a public persona as “a humble and highly principled ‘everyman,’” but she says it’s just a disguise for the real person, calling him a “paranoid, angry, deceitful and vindictive man who will turn against those closest to him on a dime.”

She also alleges that Brooks has committed tax fraud. Her lawsuit asks for $425,000 in unpaid bonus and salary, as well as unspecified punitive damages.

Next: See the Biggest Country Feuds in History

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