As TMZ reports, a complaint filed today in a Florida federal court claims the band are withholding "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in royalty payments that are "indisputably owed" to Cornell's widow and children.
The complaint calls the move "unlawful attempt to strong-arm Chris' Estate into turning over certain audio recordings created by Chris before he passed away," with legal documents also concerning the rights to a total of seven unreleased recordings.
Vicky claims the seven unreleased songs were "solely authored by Chris; contain Chris' own vocal tracks; and were bequeathed to Chris' Estate" for the benefit of her and their children.
The complaint notes that she offered to share the recordings with Soundgarden "so they can be released in a way that respects Chris' wishes — including having his producer involved," but the band refused.
Soundgarden claim they had been "working on the files in a collaborative effort" until Cornell's death, with TMZ reporting that band members listed themselves as co-writers on five of the seven tracks.
In conversation with Music Radar this past July, guitarist Kim Thayil revealed that the band were not in possession of the files needed to finish the recordings.
When asked what it would take to secure them, Thayil admitted, "We don't know. We've asked nicely, we've suggested that this will benefit all parties, if the band could just have these files, and we could finish the songs we were working on. But there seems to be some confusion amongst various parties as to what that would entail and how that works, and who that would benefit. And it's been tiring, you know. And we can't move on until some future date when someone realises the value of allowing the creative partners to have access to the material."
Vicky's complaint alleges that the band have "resorted to pressure tactics, harassment, unlawful conversion of royalties, and extortion," as well as "callously [agitating] the [b]and's rabid fan base" by suggesting she is blocking the release of new music. The complaint also states that stalkers have "threatened the safety" of Cornell's family.
In a statement posted to Instagram today, Vicky wrote, "This was not the way I would have chosen to move forward. But I will not be pushed aside for someone else's convenience or gain. I will not sacrifice our children's futures for someone else's greed. And I will not let someone else make me feel shame because the man I loved was taken from all of us too soon."
She concluded, "I will do justice by my husband's work and memory; for our children and for everything we stood for. I want to thank everyone who has stood by Chris and has supported us through this devastating time. Your love and your kindness will never be forgotten."
See the post below.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that a documentary on Chris Cornell was in the works.
I have been taking time these past few weeks to be grateful for all the good people around me and for those who have lifted me up at the very worst times in my life. The silver lining, during the storm, is finding and appreciating the subtle glow of those who sincerely support you in your life unconditionally. However, sometimes while you grieve the one you physically lost, you realize that you must now grieve the loss of some of those you considered friends and family as well. I am shocked at how often this occurs. It's not just me, or the rock-star widow, or the political widow; it is the case for the vast majority of women after their partners have passed. It transcends socio-economic class, race, and religion. It is an unpleasant and unfortunately all too common theme. Hard-hearted family members, friends, and business associates; who will exploit a widow's vulnerability when she's broken and alone. These other people who have decided that her time is up as well. Through support groups and other widowed friends, and during both difficult and supportive conversations, I have learned that I am not a unique case. This seems to be the inevitable plight of the widow in this world and I cannot help feeling angry, sad and betrayed. I will not be bullied or shamed into silence. I will not accept something so wrong, so lacking in compassion or decency, even with the clear but unspoken threat of social rejection hanging over me. This was not the way I would have chosen to move forward. But I will not be pushed aside for someone else's convenience or gain. I will not sacrifice our children's futures for someone else's greed. And I will not let someone else make me feel shame because the man I loved was taken from all of us too soon. I will do justice by my husband's work and memory; for our children and for everything we stood for. I want to thank everyone who has stood by Chris and has supported us through this devastating time. Your love and your kindness will never be forgotten. #chriscornell forever 🖤