Mötley Crüe co-founder Mick Mars is suing his former bandmates, demanding access to the band’s books after he says he was unceremoniously terminated when he disclosed a chronic illness.
In a petition filed Thursday in Los Angeles court, attorneys for Mars say he’s a 25% shareholder in the Crüe’s corporate entities, but that the band tried to cut him out entirely after he said he could no longer tour due to an arthritic condition called ankylosing spondylitis.
“How did Mars’s brothers of 41 years respond to Mars’s tragic announcement?” his lawyers wrote. “They [held] an emergency shareholders’ meeting for the band’s main corporate entity in order to throw Mars out of the band, to fire him as a director of the corporation, to fire him as an officer of the corporation, and to take away his shares of the corporation.”
Mars stepped away as a touring member of Crüe last year, but his lawyers say he clearly still wanted to record with the band and play residencies — and that he certainly wasn’t handing away his lucrative shares in the band’s corporate entities.
But in Thursday’s petition, Mars’ attorneys say that the group moved to fire him under a clause in the band’s operating agreement that allows for removal of a member for “legal cause.” Mars cited an alleged email in which the band’s attorney said Mars was no longer able “to perform as a full-fledged band member,” claiming he had repeatedly made mistakes on stage.
Rather than the 25 percent he’s allegedly owed, Mars says Crüe co-founder Nikki Sixx and the rest of the band offered him just 5 percent to walk away – and said they were only doing so “as a courtesy.”
“Sixx made it clear to Mars that he believed that the offer was a generous one, and that Mars, after 41 consecutive years with the band, did not deserve anything going forward,” lawyers for Mars wrote in Thursday’s filing. “Sixx further ‘gaslighted’ Mars by severely criticizing his performances on the U.S. tour, and exclaimed that there is no way that the band could tour with Mars anymore.”
After he pushed back on the moves to remove him, attorneys for Mars say the band stopped responding and instead filed an arbitration case against him in February — “essentially suing him” to prove that they had the right to kick him out of the band.
“They clearly commenced an arbitration, rather than a public lawsuit, so that the public would not be aware of the deplorable manner in which they treated their ‘brother’ of 41 years,” lawyers for Mars wrote in the petition.
In technical terms, Wednesday’s filing was a petition asking a judge to rule that Mars can access the band’s financial records, operating agreements and other key information amid the dispute. While it included many details about his firing and his disability, Mars is not directly suing the band over his termination.
A rep for Mötley Crüe did not return a request for comment.