In an exclusive RadarOnline.com interview, Mark Bego, author of "Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul / Tribute Edition", said, “Aretha had a bad reputation for not paying her bills, let alone her taxes.
“Back in the late ‘90s, she was sued by a Detroit limousine company.
“She would hire the limo company to go to a local Kentucky Fried Chicken drive through window to pick up food and bring it to her!”
Bego wrote in his book, “In 1998…All-Star Limousine service of Royal Oak, Michigan, was suing her for the non-payment of $3,651.88 in provided services, plus $1,500 in legal fees.
“The lawsuit wasn’t a laughing matter in itself, but the list of services the limousine company provided for Aretha certainly were.”
According to the bill the Queen of Soul ran up, on June 15, 1998, she hired a limousine to take her to the local Jenny Craig weight-loss center at a cost of $69.00 for that ride.
The following month, she was dispatching the limousine driver to pick up a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken for her—at a cost of $126.50 for the car service alone.
Apparently, Aretha decided to skip out on Jenny Craig altogether, and turned her attention to some of Colonel Sanders’ extra crispy drumsticks.
Three days later she had the same limo service pick up one of her friends, and then swing by the drive-in window at Burger King!
According to the suit, which was before Bloomfield Hills district court judge Edward Avadenka, the bill which Aretha racked up included:
◆ June 15, 1998, drive Aretha to Jenny Craig Weight Loss Center ($69.00)
◆ July 11, 1998, pick up Aretha, take her to dinner, and to a Janet Jackson concert ($569.25)
◆ July 20, 1998, send the driver to Kentucky Fried Chicken ($126.50)
◆ July 20, 1998, pick up Aretha and take her to lunch, the dry cleaners and the grocery store ($126.50)
◆ July 23, 1998, pick up one of Aretha’s friends, take them to Burger King ($126.50)
◆ July 30, 1998, pick up Aretha from her home, take her to Columbus, Ohio ($475.00)
The list went on from there, eighteen trips in all during the months of June and July. All-Star cited some of Franklin’s favorite destinations as Cobo Cleaners, a Coney Island hot dog restaurant, and Kroger’s supermarket.
The limousine service was also used to pick up newspapers for Aretha, and provide various other services.
According to All-Star’s lawyer, Scott Yaldo of Birmingham, all of the invoices were sent to Ms. Franklin very respectfully addressed to “Dear Aretha.”
Said Yaldo of his clients, “They don’t want to be the bad guys, but they’re a small company that relies on people paying their accounts.”
Aretha once ran up a huge bill with her personal publicist, and "stiffed" them to the point that the small company went bankrupt. The owner of the company didn't sue Franklin because she was afraid of the backlash of suing Aretha, for fear of a bad reputation for doing so.
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