Testimony Continues in Garth Brooks Lawsuit
The legal drama is continuing for Garth Brooks, who is in court this week with a former employee over $226,000 he says was a loan that was never repaid to him.
Lisa Sanderson, who was the CEO of Brooks' movie and television production company, Red Strokes, until the company disbanded, both cried and laughed as she explained her relationship with her previous boss in US District Court in Nashville on Wednesday (Feb. 12).
“Since we met we were just ... we’re family,” Sanderson maintained (quote via Nashville's Tennessean). “He’s my brother, that’s just our relationship. We’re so close.”
Sanderson alleges Brooks gave her the money to help her fight a two-year custody battle over her son. Furthermore, she says she is also owed severance and retirement money from the company.
The country singer testified that he went over a repayment plan with Sanderson on several different occasions. His accountant and business manager, Cheryl Harris, also took the stand on his behalf.
“The loan was to be paid when she could,” Harris said. “Mr. Brooks didn’t simply forgive the loan because that would have made the IRS consider that $226,000 loan an income, and they would have taxed it heavily.”
Sanderson's former secretary, Anka Brazell, also sided with Brooks, claiming that Sanderson promised her to get more money out of the superstar.
“When I interviewed with Lisa Sanderson she told me there wasn’t any such thing [as a pension],” Brazell recalled, adding that her former boss said she had already hired a lawyer to sue Brooks, so they could get "big, fat pensions out of this.”
Still, Sanderson stands by her claims. “It could have been very dangerous for my son," she explained. "He wasn’t even a year old. [Brooks] was very, very worried. He said, ‘I’m gonna pay your legal fees.’ He said he knew I would have done it for him.”
She added through tears, “You don’t forget this. It was incredibly generous.”
Sanderson also claims Brooks never asked for repayment.
She is also suing Brooks for close to half a million dollars for unpaid salary and bonuses, plus punitive damages, in a separate case that is pending in California.