Spike Lee Stiffed Workers’ Health and Pension Plans, Lawsuit Claims

Complaint claims filmmaker owes nearly $45,000 in contributions

Spike Lee hasn’t been providing workers their full 40 acres and a mule. At least, that’s the claim of a new lawsuit filed against the filmmaker by the directors of health and pension plans.

The lawsuit, filed in a New York federal court on Wednesday, alleges that Lee’s Black Butterfly owes nearly $45,000 in contributions to health and pension plans.

The directors of the Motion Picture Industry Pension Plan and the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan claim that a payroll audit was conducted on Black Butterfly for the period of Sept. 23, 2007 to March 6, 2010, and found that the company came up lacking in plan contributions.

“The Report found that $44,987.87 in unpaid contributions was due for work performed,” the suit contends. “Despite multiple demands, Black Butterfly has failed to pay the claims asserted by the Plans. Black Butterfly refuses, and continues to refuse, to pay the amounts due for unpaid contributions disclosed by the audit.”

TheWrap has reached out for comment from Lee.

According to the suit, Black Butterfly’s sole asset, Lee’s 2008 film “Miracle at St. Anna,” was transferred to Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule, also named as a defendant, “without adequate credit.”

“Forty Acres was represented to the public as the producer of the Film and was credited with the Film’s production,” the suit reads.

Alleging breach of collective bargaining agreement and trust agreements, the suit is seeking the $45,000, plus other damages — so, basically, they want him to do the right thing.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.