Terrence Howard plays ruthless businessman Lucious Lyon on Empire, but off-screen the actor is facing a business battle of his own.
Howard’s former management company, Authentic Talent and Literary Management, filed a formal complaint on Tuesday that claims the actor owes the company $250,000 after their team helped save his job on the hit Fox show.
There is no context provided to imply why Howard’s position on the show was in jeopardy, but the complaint – obtained by PEOPLE – states that his former management company “intervened with the Los Angeles-based executives of Imagine and effectively saved Howard’s job on Empire by convincing those executives not to terminate Howard from the show.”
Howard signed with Authentic in the summer of 2013 and, according to the complaint, the management company played an “integral part” in getting him his role on Empire, which premiered in January 2015.
The complaint states that Howard terminated his management agreement with Authentic in September 2014 but “Howard expressly acknowledged his contractual obligation” to pay the company 10 percent of any revenue he received from employment that had been obtained during the time Authentic was working with him.
Howard did make a series of payments throughout 2015 and 2016 – which the complaint states amounted to 10 percent of the gross revenue he earned for seasons 1 and 2 of Empire – but in March 2016 the payments stopped.
Howard “has failed to [pay further post-termination commissions] despite having received millions of dollars from Empire and despite being in a position to receive millions more,” reads the complaint. “Howard well knows, and has conceded, that his contract and long-established industry practice require him to pay Plaintiff commissions on an ongoing basis through the duration of his seven-year Empire contract.”
This is just the latest legal battle Howard has faced in recent months.
In August 2015, a judge called Howard a “bully” but ruled in his favor and overturned the spousal support agreement he had signed with his second ex-wife Michelle Ghent, who had filed a restraining order against Howard and claimed he had physically and mentally abused her.
“Terrence Howard is a bully,” Judge Thomas Trent Lewis said while delivering his verdict. “[But] just because you’re a bully, doesn’t mean you can be bullied.”
No court date has been set for Authentic’s lawsuit against Howard.