Anita Baker accused of failing to pay Rochester lawyer, facing $150,000 lawsuit

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Grammy Award winning singer Anita Baker is being accused once again of not paying her bills.

It was just a few months ago that Baker’s attorney was telling the 7 Investigators that his client was wrongly accused of stiffing a local painter with a bill of more than $15,000.  Now that same attorney says the singer owes him thousands of dollars, and he’s not alone.

“She just does not want to pay,” said Rochester attorney Jamal Hamood.  Hamood recently represented Baker.  But now he’s suing her for $150,000, alleging she owes him for more than a year of work.

“I was at her beck and call 24/7, she would call me when I was on vacation and she would call me on the weekends, or text me or email me.  If I didn’t respond immediately she would become furious,” Hamood told 7 Investigator Heather Catallo.

Hamood helped Baker narrowly avoid a stint in jail back in March when he worked to get a bench warrant that had been issued against her dismissed.  The reason for the warrant: a local painter got a default judgment against the singer, accusing her of failing to pay more than $15,000 for work done at her Grosse Pointe mansion.

At the time, Hamood told us Baker didn’t pay the bill because she felt the work was shoddy.  Now Hamood says he’s learned this star singer has a lengthy history of leaving her lawyers and her contractors in the lurch.

“She was developing a sort of pattern of trying to lure them in, get them to additional work, and then not pay for that work,” said Hamood.

In his lawsuit filed Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court, Hamood says Baker was supposed to pay him $85,000 a year to be her Vice President of Operations.  In an email from Baker to Hamood acknowledging the position, she writes that she was “so happy” to hire him, saying “YAY!! .. yes, you have always been on board :)”

But Hamood says Baker owes him nearly $69,000 for salary, travel and other expenses.  He says she did give him two checks in July totaling $30,000, but they didn’t clear.

“She didn’t pay me for anything that I did for her in 2014,” said Hamood. 

Hamood’s lawsuit alleges Baker has refused to pay at least five other lawyers, and the 7 Investigators have learned there are other local attorneys who have sued Baker, alleging the singer won’t pay them either.

Hamood says in the lawsuit, “Defendant Anita Baker continuously praised the Plaintiff, in both emails and text messages… and promised to make payments as soon as she was able to free up some funds… It was instead Defendant Anita Baker’s method of operation to make such promises without an intention to pay.”

Hamood hopes this lawsuit will strike a chord with Baker.

“I really like Anita, I want the best for her.  I’m hoping that through this case that maybe we’ll wake her up and she’ll realize she can’t keep doing this to people,” said Hamood.

The 7 Investigators have emailed Anita Baker but so far she has not responded to our questions.

A court date is scheduled for January.