Salt-N-Pepa Sued by DJ Spinderella Over Alleged Fraud and Unpaid Royalties After Firing
Salt-N-Pepa has been hit with a new lawsuit by former bandmate DJ Spinderella.
Two months after she claimed she was kicked off the group’s reunion tour with New Kids on the Block and received a “termination” email, Spinderella (who was born Deidra Roper) filed a breach of contract lawsuit in federal court in Texas against Sandra “Pepa” Denton and Cheryl “Salt” James.
In addition to alleged unpaid royalties, Roper, 47, is also suing for multiple breaches of contract, fraud and intentional misrepresentation, according to court documents obtained by The Blast.
“DJ Spinderella became synonymous with, and inseparable from, Salt-N-Pepa’s public identity as she helped boost the all-female SNP trio and brand to legendary iconic status and worldwide fame,” claims Roper, who first joined the duo in 1987 at age 16.
However, Roper alleges she was cut out of deals as years went by despite generating “significant on-stage excitement” and entertaining “audiences with her captivating musical grooves and remarkable deejay tricks.”
Specifically, Roper claims she was unaware of the group’s 1999 Best of Salt N Pepa album release amid their ’90s hiatus. The compilation was released in Europe with Roper’s image featured on the album cover allegedly without her consent. Instead, she says she received a call from Denton in 2001 about money from the album.
“Roper was suddenly informed — in an unexpected telephone call from Denton — that James, 53, and Denton, 52, were holding the sum of $125,000 that would be paid to Roper,” the documents claim. “No such payment of $125,000 was subsequently made to Roper.”
Roper also claims in the lawsuit that she is being “duped” and only receiving “minimal compensation” for the pair’s VH1 show, The Salt-N-Pepa Show.
More recently, Roper alleges she was fired from the group after accepting a deferred compensation agreement.
“On January 4, 2019, within days after Roper accepted the Deferred Compensation Arrangement, Roper received a written notice of termination … by email, which therein purported to completely terminate Roper’s services … following Roper’s ‘last performance with Salt-N-Pepa on December 3, 2018’, ” the lawsuit argues.
Overall, Roper claims Denton and James “have failed to fully and accurately provide an accounting for, and payment to [her], of her share of the income and royalties realized and received” by the pair, including merchandise sales, commercial marketing of albums, royalties and earnings.
Denton and James “have continuously concealed and failed to fully and accurately account for and pay to Roper her full one-third share of various sources of income and ancillary revenue.”
Reps for Denton and James did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.
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