Mariah Carey’s Black Irish cream liquor brand is now embroiled in a legal dispute as a publicity company claims they have not been compensated for their services in promoting the brand.
According to exclusive court documents obtained by The Blast, the California-based company Calhoun, led by Katie Calhoun, a media relations expert with over 20 years of industry experience, has filed a lawsuit against Mariah Carey’s business partner (the parent company of Black Irish). The lawsuit alleges non-payment for the services provided by Calhoun.
Mariah Carey introduced the Black Irish Liqueur line in 2021, featuring a range of cream liqueurs, with the name meant to represent her Irish and Black heritage.
Calhoun, specializing in providing public relations and marketing services for wine and spirits brands, claims that her company was approached by Herzog, Mariah Carey’s business partner, in September 2022, to help promote the brand. However, Herzog later failed to compensate Calhoun’s company for its services.
The legal documents state that Herzog, leveraging his family connection to one of Calhoun’s existing clients, represented himself as a business partner of Carey and co-owner of the Black Irish brand. This was intended to establish credibility for the business, and to convince Calhoun to provide her services and goodwill without a written contract.
Despite the absence of a formal agreement, Calhoun’s team began promoting the Black Irish brand in October 2022, incurring out-of-pocket expenses. Herzog repeatedly assured Calhoun that payment was imminent. In November 2022, they eventually signed a contract stipulating a monthly payment of $5,000, along with reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses within 30 days after submission of an expense report.
The lawsuit alleges that Herzog consistently struggled to make the $5,000 monthly payment, often providing false assurances that payment was on its way. They claim he had no intention of making further payments, even as they continued promoting the brand.
The lawsuit comprises five causes of action against Mariah Carey’s company, including Breach of Contract, Intentional Misrepresentation, Negligent Misrepresentation, Conspiracy, and Common Counts of Goods and Services Rendered. Calhoun and her team are seeking compensatory damages totaling no less than $44,226.56.
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