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Woman Sues Lou Rawls for $12 Million

March 28, 2003 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A woman who says she gave up her business to become Lou Rawls’ mistress sued the soul singer for $12 million, claiming he backed out of a verbal agreement to support her financially even if they split.

Rawls’ manager said the lawsuit was frivolous, and that the singer was acquainted with the woman but never dated her.

In the lawsuit filed Thursday, Margaret Schaffer said she met Rawls in Washington state at a Valentines Day concert in 1998.

After a courtship, when the 67-year-old singer admitted he was married, Schaffer said, she left her job with a fruit-brokerage business and moved into his Southern California home.

They made an oral agreement in November 1998 ``to treat as joint property income and earnings,″ according to the lawsuit. Rawls also agreed to pay her what she would have earned in her job, Schaffer said, adding he promised lifetime support even ``in the event their relationship should terminate.″

Rawls’ manager, David Brokaw, said Thursday night the lawsuit ``has no merit.″ He said Rawls and his wife have lived in his Los Angeles home for 20 years.

``He never moved out of that home to live with Mrs. Schaffer,″ Brokaw said.

Schaffer said Rawls ended their relationship Jan. 15 and told her never to contact him again and ``forget him completely.″

The lawsuit seeks $2 million in compensatory damages, $10 million in punitive damages and half the worth of the real estate, stocks and vehicles Schaffer says Rawls bought while they were together.

Rawls, who has won three Grammys, has recorded such hits as ``You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine″ and ``Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing.″