P. Diddy Sued for Age Discrimination by Longtime Employee

Longtime employee claims bias

By Alice McQuillan
|  Thursday, Sep 2, 2010  |  Updated 12:40 PM CDT
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A 51-year-old music executive known as "the Mom" or "Auntie" at Bad Boy Records is suing Sean "P. Diddy" Combs for $12 million claiming that she was fired for being old and disabled.

Francesca Spero says in her lawsuit that she is "renowned for launching the careers of various urban music figures, including Combs," but had a falling out with him after being laid up with hip surgery in 2008.

"Francesca Spero opened the door for Combs' career and, now that she's 51, he showed her the door at Bad Boy," said her attorney, Laurie Berke-Weiss of the law firm of Berke-Weiss & Pechman.

Spero says that she first met Combs, in 1988 and began working for him a decade later -- during his "Puff Daddy" phase. She says that she helped sign new song writers, get music clearances for corporate endorsements, execute Bad Boy's $38 million deal with Warner Brothers and produce the MTV reality show "Making the Band."

Their partnership, however, began to fall apart two years ago when she underwent surgery to treat a hip misalignment, and he allegedly said she could no longer "run around" and earned too much money for "someone who could no longer keep up with his fast-paced lifestyle," according to her lawsuit.

Eventually fired this March, Spero said her replacement was a woman about 10 to 15 years younger who "lacked the skill set and experience Spero brought to the position."

Combs' spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Spero does admit to checking herself into a substance abuse treatment facility in December 2008 after problems with prescription pain killers and alcohol, but said until then she had been clean and sober since 1987 -- when she was treated for opiate addiction.  She said she told two Bad Boy employees about her relapse and treatment.

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