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'Butler' director Daniels faces $25 million suit by hip-hop mogul

By Daniel Wiessner

(Reuters) - Director Lee Daniels is facing a $25 million lawsuit over claims he failed to pay back hip-hop mogul-turned-fashion entrepreneur Damon Dash, or give him production credits, after Dash invested millions of dollars in his projects.

Attorneys for Dash, the former manager and business partner of rapper Jay-Z, on Thursday filed a summons, which is a notice that a suit has been filed, in New York state court in Manhattan.

Dash claims he helped fund the production of several films and television projects, including "The Butler," "Precious" and "The Paperboy."

Daniels "attempt(ed) to deprive (Dash) of the monetary benefits and producer and executive producer credits owed to Mr. Dash as per the parties’ agreements," the summons said.

Dash is seeking $25 million in damages from Daniels and $1 million from producer Simone Sheffield, who is credited as a co-producer in several of Daniels's films, according to the Internet Movie Database.

Dash's attorney, Natraj Bhushan, said he would file a more detailed complaint once the summons was served, and that Daniels and Sheffield had a chance to respond to the claims. He declined to comment further on the case.

Daniels's production company, Lee Daniels Entertainment, did not return a request for comment. Nor did Sheffield's production company, Canyon Entertainment.

The case is Damon Dash v. Lee Daniels, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 157989-2014.

(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner; Editing by Ted Botha and Andre Grenon)

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