- (Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
Kelsey Grammer has been named in a suit against the website Staropoly.com. Grammer maintains that the suit is "without merit" and lost $1 million of his own money to the site.
Actress Lydia Cornell and a group of investors brought the suit against Grammer, Staropoly's founder and several others for their participation in a Ponzi scheme. The site used images of Grammer, which he contends was without his permission, and therefore is not worthy of a suit.
"Defendant Staropoly has falsely advertised itself as a multi-level marketing company; however, its operation is that of an illegal pyramid scheme operating in order to commit credit card fraud, with no monetary return to its associates," documents from the suit read.
"Photographs and promotional materials of Grammer were used as sales tools to 'reel' in more investors. Hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent investors were 'taken in' by these Ponzi schemes, primarily due to Grammer's endorsements," the suit continued.
Grammer has maintained his innocence and insists that he did not give permission for the site to use his image in any way.
"Any claims filed against Kelsey Grammer concerning Staropoly are absurd and without merit," his lawyer, Marty Singer, said in a statement.
"Kelsey has been substantially damaged in this venture, and in fact lost $1 million of his own money. Kelsey received nothing from the venture, monetarily or otherwise. Kelsey has not been contacted by any of the attorneys in the lawsuit, not been served, and has not been contacted by any governmental agency," the statement continued.
Cornell, however, has said that she "did not specifically set out to sue my friend Kelsey. My purpose is to help get back the retirement funds that were stolen, and to the Noreen Fraser Foundation, which was duped."
"No one could get through to Kelsey's team, and his name and likeness was still being used to advertise this Ponzi scheme," she told the Huffington Post. "Kelsey's team was saying untrue things in the press. So many innocent fans and people were still being ripped off. He was only added to the suit recently, as the case involves many defendants," she explained.