By Bob Van Voris
Adidas AG lost a court bid to freeze $75 million it paid to Ye, the rapper and designer formerly known as Kanye West, to market Yeezy shoes.
At a Tuesday hearing, US District Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan rejected Adidas’s arguments that it needed a temporary restraining order to ensure that the funds remain available as its dispute with Ye over the blow-up of their partnership due to his antisemitic statements continues in arbitration.
Adidas had cited press reports that Yeezy could be sliding toward insolvency in arguing that the funds were at risk. But Caproni said the company hadn’t advanced any evidence to support that claim “beyond tabloid speculation.” She also said Adidas hadn’t shown that it would suffer “irreparable harm” if the funds weren’t frozen.
Caproni said it seemed likely that Adidas would ultimately prevail in recovering the $75 million in arbitration, where the company is contending Ye violated his contract by making antisemitic remarks. But she said that the company hadn’t shown it met the legal standard for a restraining order on the money.
At the hearing before Caproni on Tuesday, a lawyer for Ye said the partnership contract called for Yeezy to receive $100 million a year from Adidas in quarterly installments. It’s not clear if the $75 million Adidas sought to freeze is part of that annual payment, but the company claims the funds are restricted to marketing purposes.
Mark Goodman, a lawyer representing Adidas, declined to comment on the ruling.
The case is In the matter of Application of Adidas AG for an Order of Attachment in Aid of Arbitration, 22-mc-00320, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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