@LO___RaineThe Seminole Tribe of Florida is the only Native American tribe to never surrender to the United States, and therefore it operates as a sovereign nation that is granted certain immunities within our government. However, Seminole Tribe of Florida Inc. is an actual corporation which is held accountable to federal laws and regulations. It appears the Tribe has been operating with shady business practices while trying to hide behind their massive net worth and under the guise of sovereignty. On Tuesday, Lujen Brands LLC filed a lawsuit against the Seminole Tribe of Florida Inc. in federal court, alleging the tribe reneged on its letter of intent to invest in the band Candblebox’s 20th anniversary tour. Ultimately, this led the band to fire its managing and marketing company, Lujen Brands. The debt owed is a hefty $400,000 which Matt Iudice, owner of Lujen Brands, told PopWrapped exclusively, “Very few bands make it to 10 years together, let alone 20. And you only get one shot at a 20 year reunion tour. As a result of this botched deal, Candlebox was unable to execute the tour they deserved and were guaranteed.” Iudice explained that his intent with the lawsuit “is to make things right with the many people that have been severely damaged by the misrepresentation and lack of follow through from the Tribe and to expose the misrepresentation and deception that has taken place.” His fear is that since the tribe also owns Hard Rock Café International Inc, more artists will be (or have been) taken advantage of. The lawsuit alleges that the tribe’s Chief Financial Officer, Michael Ulizo, and board member, Chris Osceola, repeatedly assured payment but failed to follow through. According to the complaint, the tribe and Iudice came to an agreement to sell the Seminole brand e-cigarettes and other products at venues where the band would play on the tour. Lujen met their part of the agreement, working with booking agents and promoters to meet the tribe’s request. According to Iudice, Lujen Brands and the band’s entertainment attorney also negotiated the buyback terms of the band’s record Love Stories and Other Musings from the record label and distribution company, at the request of Ulizio and Marc Solomon, the Tribe's general counsel. Once those terms were finalized by Iudice, Ulizio and Solomon again failed to follow through with the commitment to forward the funds required to purchase the record. Stefanie C. Moon, the attorney representing Iudice and his company, said of Ulizio and Osceola, “They’re trying to extend their sovereign immunity to a federally chartered corporation and we think that the federally chartered corporation should be held liable for the acts and omissions they committed against Lujen Brands.” This is not the only legal battle the tribe is facing. In January, a lawsuit was filed against the tribe for $250 million over an allegedly broken advertising contract.
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