Gogol Bordello must have been happy now that the sixth album, Pura Vida Conspiracy has been unleashed, but it looks like a former band member is trying to make that happiness short-term, at least for the group’s frontman. Former guitarist, Oren Kaplan, has filed a claim that frontman (and occasional actor) Eugene Hütz for $950,000 over an alleged financial scheme.
In the filing, Kaplan reported that “Hütz brazenly absconded with approximately half a million dollars from the bank accounts of the Gogol Bordello entities and deposited those funds into the accounts of new companies which are wholly owned by Hütz.” The Guardian went on to report that the two members shared the accounting duties until 2009, when the frontman took over. After taking over the duties, Hütz reportedly doubled his paycheck earning him $130,000 a year while Kaplan was only getting paid $57,000; at least that’s what the guitarist says.
Kaplan went on to say that Hütz told him to take a hiatus from the band to grieve over the loss of his mother, but that there was an actual ulterior motive to the suggestion; he wanted him gone so he didn’t have to share in profits from a song that was used in a Coca-Cola commercial.
“Hütz accomplished this ruse by feigning concern for plaintiff … and encouraging plaintiff to take an extended leave of absence from the group, during the very time when the group would be recording its song for the Coca-Cola commercial.”
As a result of all the bad blood between the two of them, Kaplan is asking for $950,000 in damages (yes, you read that right, almost a million dollars). Kaplan claims that he improved the band’s musicianship and finances and because of that he should be compensated as such. He goes on to explain that he believes that Hütz somehow managed to trick the other band members into thinking that they needed to kick Kaplan out. Aside from that, he’s asking for ANOTHER $950,000 to be paid to Gypsy Punks LLC.
So far none of the remaining members of the band have commented on the situation, and would you blame them with almost a million dollars on the line.