ex-Rockstar boss issues $150m lawsuit against parent company Take-Two Interactive
In a statement issued today, Leslie Benzies, the former boss of Rockstar North who was lead producer for the company's highly successful Grand Theft Auto franchise, from GTA 3 through to GTA V, has issued a lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive, who owns Rockstar, to the tune of $150,000,000.
The statement reads:
"...while on sabbatical, Mr. Benzies discovered numerous deceptions on the part of Take-Two, Rockstar, Rockstar North Ltd, Sam Houser and Dan Houser, who sought to force him out of the company and terminate his portion of royalty payments based upon arbitrary actions by the company's Royalty Allocation Committee, a committee that may or may not have actually ever met. As the lawsuit describes, based upon agreements in place, as one of three named Rockstar Principals, Mr. Benzies is owed in excess of $150,000,000 million in unpaid royalties."
The lawsuit alleges that when Benzies tried to return to work from his sabbatical, he found his key to the building had been deactivated. After eventually being let in by security, he was then asked to leave the premises by the Rockstar North office manager. He also claims that the sabbatical wasn't even his idea, but that he was encouraged to do so by the defendants.
This is at odds with Take-Two's CEO Strauss Zelnick's version of events where he stated back in February, "He's decided not to return to Rockstar Games." This is something Benzies denies.
The conflicting allegations don't end there, however, with Rockstar and Take-Two filing a document stating Benzies left the company, "...without good reason."
It looks like this one's going to get messy.