Kanye West registers his Sunday Service church as a tax-exempt non-profit amid ‘$50m lawsuits’ from ex-workers
KANYE West has quietly made his church official by registering his Sunday Service as a tax-exempt non-profit – amid ongoing lawsuits from disgruntled workers, The Sun can exclusively reveal.
The 44-year-old rapper began hosting invite-only musical services with a gospel choir back in January 2019, to coincide with his album release Jesus Is King.
He performed at secret locations close to his home in Calabasas and later took the service to Coachella, but went on hiatus during the pandemic.
Documents obtained by The Sun show Kanye hired lawyer, Karl F. Mill, based in San Francisco specializing in non-profits, and has now been granted 501c3 tax-exempt status.
A filing dated March 23 shows details of the corporation and lists the $2.2million HQ in Calabasas, which Kanye is said to have turned into a bachelor pad amid his divorce from Kim Kardashian.
Kanye’s “gated ranchette” was bought in 2018 and the modest home sits on 1.25 acres, adorned with large mature oak trees.
After Ye’s failed run for President, the docs also state the corporation is not allowed to “participate in, or intervene in [including the publication or distribution of statements], any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”
Churches are considered to be public charities, and as such, they are generally exempt from federal, state, and local income and property taxes.
A certificate of status viewed by The Sun has also been signed by Shirley Weber, Secretary of State.
Kanye’s decision to make the church official comes at an interesting time, as he’s being sued for damages in two class-action lawsuits in Los Angeles, first revealed by The Sun in January.
Last summer, Ye was hit with the lawsuits over the production of his first “opera,” entitled Nebuchadnezzar, at the Hollywood Bowl in November 2019.
It featured hundreds of performers, the Sunday Service choir and a huge backstage crew of make-up artists, hair stylists, costume designers and actors hired to sit in the audience, due to poor ticket sales, despite 5,000 being given away.
According to strict California employment law, performers and crew, who also worked one rehearsal day, should have been classified as employees, not independent contractors.
It means they had a legal right to overtime wages, meal and rest breaks, but according to the lawsuits they didn’t get any of this, nor were they paid on time, if at all, in some cases.
One lawsuit, filed by LA employment lawyer Frank Kim in August last year, concentrates on the performers, which totals over 500 people.
The other, filed by entertainment attorneys Harris & Ruble, centres on behind-the scenes staff of around 300 people.
The Los Angeles County Superior Court has joined the lawsuits together and sources estimate Kanye’s payout could be as high as $30million should he choose to fight.
“They’ve got hundreds of people on board already, but they’re talking to many, many others, who want to be a part of it,” a legal source previously told The Sun.
“People are very upset how they were treated, saying it’s their worst experience,” they added.
In a third Sunday Service-related suit, filed in August 2020 in California District Court and revealed by TMZ, MyChannel Inc., alleged that its employees were stiffed for six months of work on technology.
The video and e-commerce company, suing for $20million in damages, reportedly linked up with Kanye to help “maximize revenues for his Yeezy merchandise,” according to the outlet.
MyChannel Inc. allegedly invested $7million of its own cash into a Yeezy project, but after Kanye cut ties, they claim he stole their tech for his newly-launched Sunday Service.
The business had even moved its headquarters from Pennsylvania to California then to Chicago with the promise of a $10million investment that it allegedly never received.
Kanye previously claimed he spent $50million on Sunday Services in 2019, and it could cost him the same amount with mounting lawsuits.
“I spent every dime that I have for marketing from Yeezy on Sunday Service. Every dollar I had,” the hitmaker told Nick Cannon in an interview last year.
“‘I spent $50 million last year on Sunday Service if you add up the operas, if you add up the flights. It was 120 people going to Jamaica.’
“The Yeezys, they were selling themselves. So instead of paying for ads, I invested it in the church. I invested in spreading gospel. I invested in saying Jesus’ name on high.”
The website for his church currently features the words ‘Kanye West Sunday Service Experience’ but no further information, while the Instagram page is still active.
Meanwhile, Kanye is back in the spotlight for his love life, as he’s started dating Russian model Irina Shayk amid his divorce.
Last week, the rapper was pictured beaming with 35-year-old after whisking her away for a “romantic getaway” in Provence, south of France, for his 44th birthday.
The hot new couple were spotted arriving on a private jet back to New Jersey following the trip.
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The Grammy-Award winning producer splits his time between LA and Wyoming – where he also owns a sprawling $14million ranch.
Busy mom Kim Kardashian, who shares children North, Chicago, Saint and Psalm with the superstar, officially filed for divorce in February after seven years of marriage.