Art & Show

Why is Damon Dash suing Lee Daniels again? Inside their years-long legal battle.

Roc-a-Fella Records co-founder Damon Dash is upping the ante in his long-running legal battle with “Empire” creator Lee Daniels.

Jay-Z’s former business partner is suing the Oscar-nominated director and his eponymous entertainment company for $5 million. In the suit, filed Tuesday in the New York Supreme Court, Dash claims Daniels promised him a co-producer credit on a Richard Pryor biopic that had long been in development with the now-bankrupt Weinstein Company. The suit, provided to The Post by Dash’s attorney, states that Daniels — who was slated to direct the film before exiting the project in 2016 — “never informed [Dash] of the film’s progress” nor made any attempt to secure him a producer credit on a “comparable film.”

The lawsuit is the latest chapter in a years-long dispute between Dash and Daniels. Dash sued the filmmaker in 2014, claiming that he was entitled to producer credits and compensation for various projects. The suit was dismissed the following year amid what Dash’s attorney called “a creative, fair” settlement that would ostensibly lead to future collaboration between the two.

But as Dash tells it, that collaboration, which included the Pryor biopic, went sour. Dash confronted Daniels at a Diana Ross concert earlier this month and posted video of their tense exchange to his Instagram account on Tuesday. “As a black man, I gave you money that you needed,” Dash says in the video. “So how you not gonna give me my money?” Daniels appears to tell Dash that he will call him.

In his Instagram post, Dash wrote that he loaned Daniels $2 million “to pay for his dream of being a director” and admonished Daniels to “pay what you owe.” (The Post has reached out to Daniels for comment.)

Dash got specific about his falling out with Daniels in a 2015 interview on Sirius XM’s “Sway in the Morning.” He said he initially loaned the filmmaker $2 million so Daniels could produce “The Woodsman,” a 2004 drama starring Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick.

“Lee Daniels came to me with a good script . . . and I had some paper at the time,” Dash told host Sway Calloway. Dash said he got the money back, but Daniels then asked him to invest in his directorial debut, “Shadowboxer.” The 2005 crime thriller starred Helen Mirren, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Monique, who would go on to win an Oscar for her role in Daniels’s 2009 drama, “Precious.”

Dash said that he was hesitant because he had planned on using the money for other independent film projects, but that Lee “promised” he would get back his investment.

“Long story short, I didn’t get my money back, and then we made a deal where any other project he was on until I got my money back, I would be on it,” Dash said. “And then as soon as ‘Precious’ hit, he just went missing on me.”

Dash said that Daniels later promised to get him involved with his hit Fox melodrama, “Empire,” but that the deal never materialized. “You can’t just walk around owing me $2 million and you got it,” Dash told Calloway.

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