Jonathan Cain suing Neal Schon over charging $1M in personal expenses on shared AMEX card

Pair continue to battle over shared AMEX

Another lawsuit between Journey members has been filed in federal court. Keyboardist Jonathan Cain is suing longtime bandmate guitarist and founder Neal Schon for allegedly spending over $1 million in personal costs on the band’s shared American Express card, according to Billboard.

Schon and Cain are currently embattled in a suit over an American Express credit card. In November, Schon filed suit against Cain to “obtain critical financial information Schon has been trying to obtain but has been denied.” In the lawsuit, Schon states he “has the right to access and control [of the duo’s jointly owned company] Nomota’s books and records” and have “unfetted access to Nomota’s records so that he can oversee and manage Nomota/Journey.”

In November, Alan Gutman of Gutman Law, who is representing Cain in the matter, shared a statement placing no blame on Cain, but instead on Schon’s “reckless spending.”

“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,” Gutman states.

Cain filed his own suit last week in California, stating Schon is “misuing” the card to deal with his own financial problems “as a result to an extravagant lifestyles,” including racking up $400,000 in a single month.

“Schon’s use of the [shared] AMEX card for personal expenses created serious liquidity problems for the band, as the AMEX balance had to be paid every month, and there were insufficient revenues to pay for other expenses as Schon saddled Journey with over $1 million of his personal expenses,” Cain’s lawyers wrote in their complaint on January 13th.

The suit claims that Schon spent over $50,000 in personal expenses in the billing cycle ending in September 2021, $100,000 in January 2022 and $400,000 at various retailers in March. Cain also says that following the band’s 2022 tour, Schon demanded to “stay in hotel suites that cost in excess of $5,000 per night.” It claims that “Schon stayed an extra week in a hotel suite that cost $6,000 a night and charged more than $100,000 in expenses to the AMEX Account.”

Schon’s attorney tells Billboard that the allegations are “ridiculous” and “as phony as a three dollar bill” as the countersuit was merely “sour grapes” following Schon’s demand that Cain stop performing Journey music at a recent Mar-a-Lago gala for former President Donald Trump.

The group has been entrench in lawsuits throughout the past few years.

Schon and Cain were the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against drummer Steve Smith and bassist Ross Valory in 2020 for attempting corporate coup d’état. Schon and Cain filed a lawsuit against their former bandmates, and accused them of sowing discord among the band members by engaging in self-dealing and selfishly putting their interests ahead of the band’s and sought $10 million for damages.

Former Journey frontman Steve Perry filed the suit against Schon and Cain in September over the use of 20 of the band’s songs as registered trademarks. Between February and May 2022, Schon and Cain, who own the trademarks under their Freedom JN LLC banner, were granted trademarks for some of the band’s biggest hits, like “Separate Ways,” “Open Arms” and “Anyway You Want It” for use on merchandising, such as hats, jackets, shirts, etc., without Perry’s consent. Perry later withdrew that suit.

It’s unclear how the situation will affect the band’s upcoming 50th Anniversary Celebration Freedom Tour 2023. Schon recently stated on social media that co-founding keyboardist Gregg Rolie will be joining the band on the trek only to backtrack on that claim a week later.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com