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Earth, Wind & Fire

Maurice White Accused of

Stiffing DEAD Producer

3/30/2012 7:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0330_maurice_white_EX-02
Earth, Wind & Fire creator Maurice White is being sued for allegedly not forking over thousands of dollars to the guy who produced some of his biggest hits ... but there's a catch -- the producer DIED 36 years ago.

The man at the center of the controversy is Charles Stepney -- who produced a bunch of EWF hits from 1974 until his death in 1976 ... including Shining Star, Mighty Mighty, Devotion and Sing a Song.

But according to a new lawsuit, obtained by TMZ ... Stepney's children claim they recently discovered their dad NEVER got any royalty checks for his producer work on the EWF hits ... even while he was alive.

Now, they want Maurice ... along with Sony Music Holdings, Inc ... to fork over a HUGE check for all of the royalties they claim they deserve ... dating all the way back to 1974.

We reached out to Maurice for comment -- so far, no word back.

44 COMMENTS

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16.

Red Buttons    

That IS MAURICE WHITE YOU FOOLS!!!!!!!! He 70 years old!!!! That is not Ralph Johnson!!!!!

854 days ago
17.

LuckeeD    

Good lord people, that IS Maurice White! He is in poor health and no longer performs with the group. Ralph Johnson is currently performing and looks NOTHING like this.

854 days ago
18.

DrDeMarzo    

Chill. They corrected the photo. When the story was first posted the photo was that of Ralph Johnson, now it's Maurice White.

854 days ago
19.

StubbyCub    

That is Maurice White in the picture above, not Ralph Johnson and he has Parkinson's Disease.

854 days ago
20.

BIGROB    

Maurice is a legend who's musical contribution has been great to the whole world if someone has to pay that's SONY/Columbia the record label! Heck Maurice and EWF are owed money by a devil knowns as Tommy Mottola while he was at Sony he stiffed plenty of artist.

854 days ago
21.

Alta    

TMZ is wrong AGAIN.

854 days ago
22.

Seldombinlaid    

I saw that picture and the theme song to the Jeffersons started playing in my head.

854 days ago
23.

purpleshadz@gmail.com    

This photo is Maurice White , not Ralph Johnson. I've met them several times at meet and greets. EWF is the nicest band members that I"ve ever met. And yes, Maurice has Parkinson's.

854 days ago
24.

THIN LIZZY    

The producer gets the money before the artist does.

854 days ago
25.

ndime    

Love how people comment on the accuracy of the comments here and really don't know diddly! Maurice and Phillip have been doing this for years...its about time they paid the piper!

850 days ago
26.

patrick    

im so sorry to say it,but that is the great man maurice white.im from the uk and if you care to watch shineing stars doc,you will see that is the man,the ledgend,maurice,god bless you buddy.

847 days ago
27.

taylor    

This is Maurice.

843 days ago
28.

Musiclover234    

Sorry folks...The photo above is in fact Maurice White. I have been a fan of EWF since the mid 70's and I know Maurice when I see him. Also click on http://www.mauricewhite.com/ You will find a photo gallery of "The Man". Thanks.

817 days ago
29.

cmb    

this is definately a picture of maurice white check out his website and see for yourself

739 days ago
30.

DJRICKNICE    

That Is Maurice!

715 days ago
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