What is the Real Story Behind Kandi Burruss’ Lawsuit Against Kim Zolciak?

RHOAHkandiKimLots of you have been asking me for my opinion on the legal dispute between Kandi Burruss and Kim Zolciak. I have put off the story for a while, because my opinion is that I am confused by the whole thing. I assume y’all are too and that is why so many people are asking me about it. So let’s just look at what we know. Kandi and “Don Vito” are suing Kim for copyright infringement over the song “Tardy for the Party.”  The fundamental issue of the lawsuit is the question “Who owns the song?” Therein lies the controversy. If I knew the answer to that question, I could form a better opinion. We have heard that Kim, Brielle, Kandi and “Don Vito” are all staking a claim of ownership. One fact everyone seems to agree on is that the song did not generate much revenue. If I recall correctly, the song only sold around 100k downloads at 99 cents or so each. So we are looking at about 100K of revenue. If you split that four ways, then each would have made around 25K. Kim claims to have paid Kandi 23K.  So to me she owes Kandi about two grand and “Don Vito” around 25K. I suppose. Assuming the facts above are anything close to correct. I do not know.

The thing is, Kandi has a ton more money than Kim. I assume this is why she has not gone after her before now. Kandi is not particularly a “media whore” she doesn’t really need to run around doing “parties” in order to cover her bills. She keeps her finances in order. So the burning questions is why is she suing Kim now? Some, like Kim, speculate it is a publicity stunt to promote Kandi’s Bravo spin-off. That doesn’t sound like Kandi to me. Plus, Kim’s spin-off is coming out at virtually the same time. So wouldn’t they both be effected in the same way? Here is Kandi’s explanation:

It’s time for the whole ordeal to be over. I asked TuneCore to take the song  down in December 2012. They did. Kim sent an affidavit to put it back up, which  they did. TuneCore then informed me that in order for the song to be taken down  permanently I would need to file suit to have it removed.

I never wanted to go that route but after being told  that it is the only way to get the song removed, I had no other choice….This is  not a publicity stunt. I no longer wish for anyone to benefit from the work that  Don Vito and I created.” 

Will Kandi Burruss Be on Season Five of Real Housewives of Atlanta?Tunecore is a distributor that puts music on iTunes, Amazon and other major Internet outlets. You provide the music and they pay you directly for your sales. Kandi has decided that she no longer wants to provide Kim with a free gravy train. Perhaps she thinks that the second season of the spin-off will result in an increase in sales. Maybe she is just sick of the way Kim has treated her. Maybe “Don Vito” (Sidebar: If my name was Rodney Richard, I don’t think I would continue to use the name “Don Vito” after that icky old man from Jackass who called himself “Don Vito” got convicted for numerous counts of felony sexual assault on a child.  Because that is who I think of whenever I see that name.) wanted his share and Kandi opted to support him in a lawsuit? Who knows. One very interesting thing that happened is that the quote by Kandi above was originally given to HipHollywood. It has since been removed by that website. Why?

Here is what Kim has to say about the issue via a “press release.”

The lawsuit led by Kandi Burruss and Rodney Richard aka Don Vito against Kim  Zolciak-Biermann over the song “Tardy For The Party” is without merit and  suspicious in its timing. We also find the handling of the lawsuit by another  cast member on the show, and the timing of Kandi’s attempt to launch her own  spinoff reality show, raises serious questions about the true motives behind the  filing this lawsuit for alleged record royalties due from a song that was  released over three and a half years ago.The song was created by four people who  share in the royalties: Kim, her daughter (who co-wrote the original song in  season one of the RHOA show before Kandi joined the show in season two) Kandi  and Don Vito.  To date, Kim has written checks to Kandi and Don Vito in  excess of $23,000. In fact, we believe that Kim may have overpaid a portion of  their share to date based on the actual record sales.

Is it just me or is this the first time we’ve heard about Brielle “writing this song” when she was in elementary school? I’ve read that she wrote it before RHOA started, and here that she wrote it in season one. I totally cop to having the worst memory in the world. I was having a lot of sex back then that apparently led to me having disassociative amnesia. Sorry. But just like Jodi Arias, I do have flashes of memory from that time. I could have sworn that at some point Kim went to a vocal coach who actually wrote the song. Kim gave the song to Kandi who reworked it and produced it and then Kim sang it with lots of help from autotune. I would assume that Kim did pay Kandi something since it would seem odd to make that claim during a lawsuit without check stubs to back it up, so I will take Kim’s word for it (I know, I know).

It is clear to us the lawsuit was brought solely for the purpose of publicity  because the facts are not in Kandi’s favor. Kandi Burruss and her legal team are  well aware of the truth regarding the song and the payments Kandi and Don Vito  received from Kim.  That is a clear fact.

kim-zolciak-kandi-burrussOne thing that immediately stood out for me in the press release is that it was not written by a lawyer, or even someone with a clear grip on the English language. So I googled the purported author and found out that Mike Paul is a self-proclaimed “reputation doctor” out of NYC.  If I have a need for someone to repair my reputation, I don’t think I would hire someone who shouts out on his website that his job is to try to make people look better.

But we find the greatest truth in the fact that Kandi Burruss has been in the  music business for many years and it appears she has made many mistakes in  dealing with the song. We assume this has been a major lesson for Kandi. Maybe  focusing on her next 15 minutes of fame should not have been the priority for  Kandi versus three and a half years after the song was released, Kandi realizing  she handled all aspects of the song in a very sloppy and messy way. We  understand it is not the first time either.  As Kandi is also a music  industry veteran, it is also a shame.

I also would not hire someone who cannot use the word ‘versus’ correctly in a sentence. I also would not hire someone to publicly sling mud at the person I was in a legal conflict with.  If I did hire someone to speak disparagingly about my legal adversary, I would use legalese and not colloquialisms like “sloppy and messy.”  But that’s just me. I wonder if Kim’s lawyers approved this? She would have been better off with Kroy writing the press release. Actually, one probably should avoid “press releases” when involved in court proceedings.

So as far as I am concerned, I really have more questions than answers at this point. I feel like we don’t have all the facts. I am gonna rely on you guys to tell me what you think is really going on here.


Filed under Brielle Zolciak, Don't Be Tardy, Kandi Burruss, Kim Biermann, Kroy Biermann, Real Housewives of Atlanta, RHOA

51 responses to “What is the Real Story Behind Kandi Burruss’ Lawsuit Against Kim Zolciak?

  1. We Found Love in a Hopeless Place

    Wig is a liar and Kandi was just tired of being used. So Bravo was going to use DBTFTP as Kim’s new theme song, and of course, it was going to generate revenue, and Kandi wasn’t going to get a dime? Kim can’t even let Kandi have a baby name. And now she hires some regular guy out of NY to release some statement for her, that anyone with a set of eyes could see was not even prepared by a college educated lawyer, just like Kim Kardashian’s old publicist was her publicist at one point, and that alone speaks volumes. Oh, and all of S1, Kim went on and on about how she had wrote the track, now Brielle is the writer. For 5 seasons, we haven’t hear one peep of Brielle writing anything, now all of the sudden, she’s a songwriter, when Kim could have easily revealed this on the show, in interviews, Twitter, etc. I hope Kandi on DV get every dime that is owed to them.

    • True and tftp was a country song that kim asked Nene to sing cause kim sound like a cat getting hit by a freight train, I don’t care how anybody feels kim used kandi then played like she was her girl that’s why I feel Kandi finally realized she had to take action against kzb.

  2. I’m wondering if Kandi decided to file the suit now because Bravo was going to use the song as the opening to Kim’s show. I also wonder if Kandi would sue Bravo if they did use it, it was the theme music last season wasn’t it? Kim will have to hurry and create a new theme song now ;0)

    • Ncfinedime

      Idk Tardy has always been the theme song so ….

    • Kim and Kandis should sat down and talk, Kandis should had been on point in the beginning because Kim don’t know about the music business. Kandis is sweet and she was probably hoping Kim will do the right thing, however, Kim does not know anything about music, she just wants to sing…,

  3. Shellbelle

    I vaguely remember the elderly gentleman bringing the song to Kim. Maybe it was unfinished and that’s where Brielle, kandi and Don Vito come in. If my memory serves me correctly, wasn’t it a country song originally? Anyways, Kandi is on tape saying that she didn’t want it to ruin their friendship so she was dropping the whole thing. I guess I don’t understand why she is suing now, but I guess that’s the question everyone has.

    • pffffft

      Remember the scene in Season 1 where Kim played the song to Nene and they danced around to the song? She played “Don’t be tardy for the party” along with several other songs and Nene is the one who told her to use “don’t be tardy for the party.”

      Nene and Kim were going to record this song together.

      • Katrina

        In season 1, Kim played songs for Nene. Nene didn’t like any of them, but she said “Tardy for the Party” was catchy. Brielle and her music teacher put the songs together to give to Dallas Austin. Kim wanted to sing country and Nene thought she should have something to dance to. Dallas Austin laughed at the song and wrote “Tight Rope” for Kim. It is my unerstanding that Kim had the music teacher sign ovet the rights to her for the song. Kandi says she used the title, but rewrote the song and the beat/melody. Kandi says that Kim has an ilegal copy of her work and is using it improperly. Originally Kim and Kandi’s show were suppose to premier on April 9th, but now Kim’s show has been moved to April 16th.

    • FarFromPerfekt

      That’s how I remember it. It was a country song that Kim £ Nene were going to work on together. Kim brought Kandi in & dumped Nene! (Selfish bitch!) Kim could see $$ and was not going to share. Has this ‘wig’ ever done a charitable act in her life? And, spreading your legs to married men doesn’t count! Ugh, she makes me puke!

    • Eve

      That is how i remember it too, it was a slow country song.
      The other thing i remember is that Kandi’s hair was in that style reminicent of Woody Woodpecker.
      If Kandi is such a music veteran pro, than she should of handled it properly in the beginning. All she would be owed is an arrangement/production fee if that, which Kim already gave her.

    • trenny duke

      Yes your correct the guy was Briskly music teacher

  4. pffffft

    Stupid move on Kandi’s part. Her attorney is going to charge more to fight this, than any money she would have made from the song. Whats the big deal? Kandi is wealthy, she doesn’t need money from this song or Kim.

    I also don’t think it is for publicity, but rather she is pissed at Kim. She is pissed at Kim for dissing her home and making the comments about the pool.

    I like both Kim and Kandi and don’t think this is worth Kandi’s time.

  5. RealitySux

    I think Kandi was more than willing to let this drop when she yanked it out of distribution in Dec 2012 … **THEN** Kim re-tooled it, changed the name, and put it back in distribution. Top that off with her disrespect of Kandi – beginning with saying Kandi’s new house was in the ghetto … her swipes at Kandi on Twitter…and the baby name thing – Kandi just had enough.

    I think ALL of this could have been avoided if Kim would have just paid Kandi the dang money she owed her in the beginning.When someone does something nice for you, out of friendship – you don’t spit on them.

    I don’t think it’s money at all with Kandi – it’s the principle. And I think BRAVO should have never used the song without Kandi’s permission either.

    I hope the court sides with Kandi and the song is put BACK on the shelf for good.

  6. Like you, I am confused by it. I’d say it’s for publicity and yes it will help both shows but that just doesn’t seem like a Kandi move. Mabye DV needs the money. Maybe Bravo privately pushed for it because they feel the shows do need the publicity. I have no clue.

    • Katrina

      I read that Kandi has stated that Bravo is pissed. Castmates should not sue each other. Kandi says it has nothing to do with Bravo.
      Can you imagine if Kandi wins her case, she may be entitled to proceeds from Kim’s show. They are using the title and lyrics to the song without her permission. Copyright laws for music is very strict for TV shows.

      • YEP … I think you hit the nail on the head, which is why I think Kandi is going to win. I read an interview that Kandi did back in 2009, and she explained how strict the rules were, that tv had to follow when using other peoples music. That is why I think, even if Kim is claiming ignorance – BRAVO can’t. They owe her money.

      • The rules ARE very strict, which is why David on BH didn’t sing many lines during the piano scenes this season.

  7. Undine

    This a last ditch effort for Kandi to reclaim some of her pride and professional integrity. Maybe Nene’s jibes finally broke through and Kandi realized Kim has made her look as dumb as hell with all that forgivin n forgettin. Even though I think the whole lawsuit is too little and too late, it’s hilarious to see Kim lashing out at Kandi, who has been nothing but kind to her. Kim must think we all have amnesia. I think Baby NameGate was the last straw. It was clearly, “I think so little of you as a person I will take your fantasy baby name, because after all you’re pathetic and you’ll still be kissing my ass like you always have been.” Also,since it sorta involves Todd because it was his baby name choice as well–Kandi might not stand up for herself but she will stand up for her man. Anyway, I’m sitting back and eating popcorn..I hope this lawsuit gets down and dirty. Oooh maybe they’ll call Big Poppa in as a witness. Hahahah.

    • I’ve never heard that it was Todd’s choice as well. Kandi said it’s always been her future baby name, as in she’s wanted to use that name for a very long time even before Todd was in the picture.

      • Undine

        Kandi said recently it was the only name she and Todd could agree on, when they kicking around baby names. She also said when they would give tours of the new house she would jokingly say this is Kash’s room. So I think you’re right, she probably has wanted to use that baby name pre-Todd but now that she has a partner it is now a reality. He seems like a laid back guy and he would agree on the name to make her happy. But as far as Kandi is concerned, it was their baby name as a couple–with all the sweetness, joy and giddiness associated with it. Kim sullied it. Plus their whole family plus friends knew about the BabyName. Kim finally went too far. Even Kandi couldn’t forgive this one. Lol.

  8. Ncfinedime

    I clearly remember when the vocal coach gave her the song. I also remember Kim saying on the reunion show shed pay whatever in order to make the situation right. Then u release this disrespectful ass statement ….

  9. rosbeav

    First off Kandi is not just wealthy, she is extremely rich, having more than 30 million plus royalties continuing coming in whenever her songs are played. I would too. It is not about money, it is all about principal. Who does Kim thinks she is to steal from someone then rub it in their faces while disrespecting her and making a mockery out of the situation. It doesn’t matter if it is 3 years, I’m sure she has at least 5-7 years or maybe longer to sue for something before the expiration. It is possible since Kandi is so business savvy, she wanted to make sure she had a case, and that she had all her information in order before proceeding. It’s always best to prepare and have everything order than to be an emotionally jumper. Finally, I would do the same thing. Kandi is not interested in that little money the song made, it’s the money coming in from the show’s revenue, and from advertisements. That’s the big money!

  10. Tam

    I believe Kandi filed the lawsuit because the statute of limitations to bring a copyright infringement claim was about to expire. I believe it is 3 years from the date the plaintiff became aware of the infringing act. Kandi is an astute business woman and she is simply preserving her legal rights. In addition to the songwriting royalties, Kandi was the producer on the song and she may not have gotten paid for those services.

  11. stephey

    I always thought Kim just should have made it right between her and Kandi. But now I wonder, Kim has made other songs and had no issues that we know of. Also, Miss Lawrence tweeted that Closet Freak was taken down and he received no $ from it. Additionally, the guy who won Kandi’s spin off tweeted that he received no money and was pissed off at her! Why does Kandi continue to have these messy business partnerships if she is a seasoned business person?

    • court

      lawrence never got paid for his song b/c there was no money to make him and kandi both wrote the song but kandi said she NEVER got paid either b/c after she paid for the produers, engineers and studio time there were still in debt and she paid the rest out of her own pocket! I’m guessing Lawrence thought that she would pay him out of pocket too? But if she was an equal songwriter and she didn’t get paid either then what makes him think that she would pay him as well. Lawrence is JUST now noticing that his song was taken down so he must not have even been paying the slightest bit of attention he just wants his 15 minutes!

  12. It looks like Matthew Solomon, “winner” of the first Kandi Factory had his winning song removed from iTunes by Kandi in December as well. On his twitter he says Kandi hasn’t contacted him about it at all and he is directing people to his youtube of the song. How much money could a single by an angsty teen called “Middle Finger Up” possibly make? So without the iTune song…what did he win again?

    • court

      he got the video that played at the end of “Kandi Factory”, and his song was on itunes as per his prize BUT no one has actually seen the contract so we don’t know how long she agreed to have the song up. All we know is that when the show aired it said that it would be up on itunes it never said how long

    • RealitySux

      LOL …. Matthew got his prize. A video and a song on ITUNES. I’m thinking Kandi has a limited used clause for her music … no way I think she is a messy producer.

      So far as Lawrence, it was my understanding that Kandi wanted to get the business out the way – and Lawrence was resistant to some standard things…so Kandi, not wanting to go down the Kim road – backed out.

      • court

        yes lawrence said that he no longer wanted to go with AFTER kandi did everything for him he was going to use kandi and then go with someone else thinking that person would make him a star. Kandi got wind of it and then decided to not promote him anymore and let him promote himself but it backfired b/c lawrence’s song didn’t sell that much.

      • trenny duke

        True :)

  13. IamJoyceM

    Just reminds me of another old saying “you never do business with family or friends.” I think they were friends (or Kandi thought they were at least) at the time and should have been able to work it out amicably. Kandi may be just tying up lose ends. Yet another old saying that fits is, “Better late than never.”

  14. It doesn’t seem weird to y’all that she took them ALL down in December? Why take the kid’s down? What’s the point?

    • RealitySux

      Maybe that was the terms in the contract….we really don’t know.

    • Katrina

      It’s my understanding that you have to renew songs on tunecore every year. You pay them a fee to keep the songs on there. The person that owns the song is the only person who can renew it.

  15. Char

    Perhaps in December, Kandi tried to negotiate payment from Bravo for their use of Tardy for the Party in Kim’s spinoff and they refused to pay her since the legal ownership is messy. So Kandi then tried to asset ownership by having it removed from iTunes. When that didn’t work, she decided to sue Kim to get everything cleared up.

    Perhaps Kandi took down the first winner of the Kandi Factory’s song bc she/Bravo didn’t want it to be confused with the upcoming season of the Kandi Factory.

  16. Kate

    I agree that Kandi was sick of Kim being a twat about it. Kandi got suckered by Kim and then Kim continued to be an ungrateful bitch about it, so Kandi finally got fed up. The timing could be that Kim’s show was going to use the song and Kandi wanted to prevent that from happening. Or it could be the statute of limitations are about to expire.

    Either way, yes Kandi made a bad choice in trusting Kim and is finally doing something about it. Kim never has consequences for the lies she tells and the shit she does, so it’s nice to see someone finally standing up to her. Kim is a grifter and a liar. I don’t believe one word that comes from that hooker’s mouth.

    And seriously?? BRIELLE wrote the song??? Are they going to put Brielle on the stand (if it goes to trial) and lie about writing the song???

  17. Mel

    Why ANYONE would do business with Kim at the point is beyond me. She has proven time and time again that she has no respect for anyone or anything and will lie, cheat and steal to get what she wants.

    She is dishonest and doesn’t have any honor or integrity. I wonder if she’ll pay the people building her house. Probably not.

    I find that woman to be absolutely despicable.

  18. Jhon

    WHY would kandi sue Kim after all these years?!!!!! It’s funny how she took of Matthew solomons first single and Lawrence’s single. Very shady of kandi!
    What this whole kandi factory winner situation? She skipped out on them after filming? kandi you Krayyyyy!!!!

    • court

      the contract NEVER said she would manage them it just said if they won they would get a video and a song, rubben studdards career isnt that great but he’s never slammed AI over it.

      • stephey

        a little birdie once told me Rubben was more interested in eating a ham sandwich than making a record….Court….are you Don Juan?

  19. It clearly wasn’t in the KF Kid’s contract. He knew nothing about his song getting taken down and Kandi would not even answer him about why. I would be mad too.

  20. I’m wondering if it all boils down to royalties. Isn’t this song the theme song for Kim’s show? (I’ve never seen it so I don’t know for sure) If so, wouldn’t Kandi get paid each time the song is played? Also, I remember it the way you do Tamara & the way others here do. It was one of a few songs given to Kim by a vocal coach & it was a country song. I remember Nene telling Kim that she liked it & dancing to it.

  21. Lori

    I am very interested to hear more about Brielle having been a writer of this song. I wonder if cameras caught anything about it in “season 1”, since they mentioned it. P.S. I wouldn’t mind having some memory loss in my life again. I could barely remember my name during the days of Season 1. Now I can barely remember his.

  22. Mango

    Ok first of all with Brielle being a minor at the time the song was written, I have a suspicion that Brielle’s portion is actually being “managed” by Kim, as guardian, no? Second, we don’t know whether the royalties are being paid in 4 equal portions or whether some other split was negotiated. If the split is equal, then it would seem that Don Vito has *not* been paid, and Kandi, underpaid.

    I think calculating the royalties simply by # of downloads is misleading because royalties are generated literally every time the song is played on air as well – that is licensing.

    We also don’t know whether Kandi and Don V are entitled to additional royalties as arrangers/producers.

    I think Kim’s a money grubbing jacka$$ and Kandi’s tired of trying to work it out outside of the legal system.

    • Mango

      One curious thing about this is that Kim is that it seems like the royalties are being distributed by Kim personally. Isn’t this unusual?

  23. icecoco

    A little birdie told me that this lawsuit is to jump start Phedra reality show, where it focus more on her lawyer career. HMMMM???

  24. Mamma_needs_a_cocktail

    Bravo is currently showing Season one right now, and they were showing Kim and Nene singing to the country version of Tardy for the Party. No mention of Brielle writing the song. Kim didn’t even like the song, and even stated that she could see herself and Nene singing it together. It will be interesting if Kim strikes a deal with Kandi before this goes to court.


    Doesn’t greedy Kandi with her sex toy business and now a Music Reality show as well as Atlanta Housewives show and royalty of her songs have enough money? She needs to quit! And that pink lipstick on that wide mouth and horrid eyebrow shape needs to quit too! She looked like the joker on the final Housewives show this season.


    Come on Kandi, after years of being a song writer she did not have a contract with Kim and what about the other song “The Ring Don’t Mean A Thing. Who owns that song?

    A word to Kim, when you threw your own mother out of your wedding for using your bathroom and not a portable potty could be the reason she lost that house. God does not like ugly, esp. when we diss our own mothers who bought us into the world. Kim Karma may come back again to bite you and your own daughters may do you like you did your mother. Shame on you for humiliating your mother like that!

  27. Rita

    I think it’s all about the principal for Kandi, Kim has done nothing to show any appreciation and if she can treat her mother the way she did, Kandi is nothing to her. Kim has always shown that she doesn’t have any class or morals.

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