As the concert industry remains stagnated by COVID-19, the ongoing feud between Chris Cornell‘s widow Vicky Cornell and the surviving members of Soundgarden rages on. This week brought the latest development of the spat as Cornell has filed a new lawsuit against her late husband’s band for allegedly undervaluing their assets.
According to court documents obtained by TMZ, Vicky states that the remaining Soundgarden members—Kim Thayill, Ben Shepherd, and Matt Cameron—offered her just $278,000 to buy out Chris’ share of the band’s master recordings. Vicky claims that this is figure is severely inaccurate, considering that she allegedly brought in over that amount in 2018 simply in royalties for the band’s music.
Through her attorney, Vicky goes on to claim that she is certain that the figure offered to her is incorrect because she knows that the surviving members of the band were offered $16 million—amounting to $4 million per member—for their masters by a third party. Now, Vicky Cornell has asked a judge to make an impartial valuation of Soundgarden’s assets.
Related: Chris Cornell Estate Releases Posthumous Covers Album, ‘No One Sings Like You Anymore’ [Listen]
A representative for Soundgarden issued a statement to TMZ saying,
As requested by the Estate of Chris Cornell and as required by the laws of the State of Washington, the surviving members of Soundgarden submitted to the Cornell Estate four months ago a buy-out offer of the Estate’s interests in Soundgarden calculated by respected music industry valuation expert Gary Cohen.
Since then, the band members have continued to try to settle all disputes with the Cornell Estate and in their several attempts to settle, the band members have elected to offer multiple times more than the amount calculated by Cohen.
This dispute has never been about money for the band. This is their life’s work and their legacy.
In response, Cornell’s attorney Marty Singer disputes the band’s claim that the dispute has “never been about money.” He alleges that Vicky Cornell previously offered the surviving members $21 million for their shares which they turned down “not because they wanted to preserve their life’s work but because they know that they will make even more off of future exploitation of the music that Chris wrote and the legacy that he created (which has lined their pockets for years).”
The ‘Soundgarden versus Vicky Cornell’ saga began back in December 2019 when the late musician’s widow sued the surviving members of the band for withholding royalties. At the heart of the suit, however, lay seven unreleased recordings made by Cornell prior to his death by suicide in 2017. His wife claims that they were part of an unfinished solo project, while his bandmates maintain that they were part of a Soundgarden album. Vicky Cornell has gone on to allege that members of the band have attempted to strongarm her into handing over the recordings by withholding royalties and turning Soundgarden’s rabid fanbase against her with misleading or outright-false public statements.
The last development in the saga came in May 2020 when members of the band filed a countersuit against Vicky Cornell for misuse of funds raised from the “I Am The Highway: A Tribute To Chris Cornell” benefit concert. The band alleges that the concert raised millions of dollars for The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation, but that the “recipient(s) of the revenue…have not been identified.” Overall, Soundgarden accuses Vicky Cornell and the Chris Cornell estate of “fraudulent inducement” for using proceeds from that benefit for “personal purposes for herself and her family.”