It may not stop Journey from continuing to tour — and what a frosty green room that may be — but the two remaining original members of Journey, guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain, are squaring off in the court of public opinion as well as in real court, both airing their contentious sides of a lawsuit that Schon filed against Cain.
Cain released a statement Tuesday afternoon in response to the lawsuit Schon filed Oct. 31, as well as to public statements the guitarist made on Monday. Schon is contending in and out of court that he being denied access to the group’s American Express card and its records. Meanwhile, Cain’s lawyer says that Schon’s access to the corporate account needed to have a lid put on it after he allegedly put more than $1 million in “improper personal expenses” on the card.
“This is a matter that should have been resolved privately,” Cain said Tuesday, “but I am forced to publicly respond now to Neal’s malicious lies and personal attacks on my family and (me) in an effort to garner public support for his ill-conceived lawsuit — a lawsuit that has absolutely no merit.”
Cain continued, “Neal has always had access to the credit card statements; what he lacks — and what he is really seeking — is the ability to increase his spending limits. Since Neal decided to publicize what is going on, I can tell you we will present the evidence to the court that shows that Neal has been under tremendous financial pressure as a result of his excessive spending and extravagant lifestyle, which led to him running up enormous personal charges on the band’s credit card account.
“When efforts were made to limit his use of the card to legitimate band expenses, Neal unfortunately decided to attack me rather than trying to get his reckless spending under control,” Cain’s statement concludes. “I am saddened by the situation — for Neal and for our fans — but since Neal filed a lawsuit, I suspect he will not be able to ignore the court like he has ignored the countless financial advisors and accountants he has fired over the past several years who have tried in vain to help him.”
Schon’s lawsuit was filed in Contra Costa in California’s Bay Area and contends that Cain hasn’t turned over financial records which would show the guitarist how much the band allegedly owes him. Among the allegations in the lawsuit, Shon’s attorneys contend that he “has tried to avoid legal action, repeatedly requesting that Cain grant him access to the AMEX account. For many months, Cain and his representatives have represented that Schon would be granted access. But every time Schon contacted AMEX, AMEX informed him that he was still not authorized to access AMEX account records.”
Cain’s contention is that Schon already has access to the American Express card records but has really been looking to get his spending limit raised.
On his social media Monday, Schon wrote, “The only comment I’ll make at this time is it’s all very unfortunate and (I) tried for over a year to attain all our corporate records for Nomota with many personal e-mails to Jon as well as many legal letter(s) stating it’s my legal right to see all but I was left with no choice but to take it legal. … There’s much more … since I filed I’ll be following my attorneys advice and not speak until we are in court where I’ll not have a problem at all. It is what it is.” (Nomota is a company the two founding members started in 1998, after singer Steve Perry had left the band in ’97, establishing 50/50 ownership.)
It wasn’t the first time Schon had publicly expounded on his lawsuit… and in an earlier case, band wives were involved or invoked. In a social media account Schon shares with his wife, he brought up Cain’s wife, evangelist Paula White, saying she had become a party to the band’s banking interests as they “went behind” Schon’s back.
“Thankful for American Express and the Bank for telling Neal Schön the truth about Jonathan Cain and Paula White going behind Neal’s back. Adding Paula White to Journey corporate Banking in 2020 is unethical and unlawful to Neal, he said never do it, they did it anyway. Good for the honest bank rep.”
Cain’s attorney, Alan Gutman of Gutman Law, released his own statement Tuesday, saying: ”The evidence will establish that Schon’s financial crisis has nothing to do with his professed ‘unfettered access to Nomota’s records.’ Our investigation has established that Schon’s personal financial problems resulted solely from his reckless spending, including what preliminarily appears to be charging more than $1 million of improper personal expenses on the band’s corporate Nomota AMEX card. Schon’s complaint is the classic example of desperate people doing desperate things. It’s very unfortunate that Neal — and Neal alone — has created such difficulties for himself and his family through his profligate spending.”
The motion to dismiss filed by Gutman Law asks to have Miller Barondess, LLP disqualified as Schon’s lawyer, because the firm previously represented Cain and Schon together in 2020 “in a substantially related matter. Accordingly, it is presumed that confidential information was disclosed to Miller Barondess, LLP, and disqualification is mandatory. … Cain would not have disclosed any confidential information regarding his business activities, attitude, philosophy regarding litigation and strategies, if he knew that Miller Barondess would use that confidential information in a lawsuit against him.”
It’s the biggest blowup directly between Cain and Schon since 1997, when Schon went public on social media with complaints that Cain, singer Arnel Pineda and Ross Valory, who was then the group’s bassist, participated in a photo op at the White House with Donald Trump. (Cain’s wife, Paula White, acted as a spiritual advisor to the then-president and delivered the invocation at his inauguration.)
But there have been other issues in the meantime. In 2020 and 2021, the group’s drummer and bassist were severed from the band after a dispute over trademark claims and lawsuits that ended in a settlement.
Meanwhile, Journey is scheduled to hit the road again, schisms and all, starting Jan. 27. The tour goes all the way to a date at the Palm Springs area’s new Acrisure Arena on April 25.