News of SECRET’s possible disbandment came right after the court granted Song Jieun’s appeal to nullify her contract with TS Entertainment.
Song Jieun’s exclusive contract with the agency was determined as null and void on February 8th.
The dispute allegedly started at least two years ago. Since Sunhwa’s departure, the members’ solo activities increased, making their own promotions as a group shorter. This apparently added weight to the disagreement.
Song Ji Eun filed an application to the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board to render her exclusive contract ineffective. The board is a corporate body established to resolve or prevent disputes from domestic and overseas commercial transations and has the same legal effect with the approval of the Supreme Court.
“TS Entertainment did not transparently fulfil the settlement obligation (specific in the contract) and did not perform basic management services sufficiently.”
-Song Ji Eun
There were three reasons for the contract invalidation. One, her payment for her the drama “Sweet Home, Sweet Honey” was not distributed properly. There were delayed or no reimbursements for her lessons, rent, vehicle lease and etc. Lastly, Jieun’s exclusive contract rights were transferred to a third party without authorization.
The mediator accepted the second and third points made. The agency was found to have transferred management duties in her contract to an acting agency and forwarded a copy to Song Jieun through a mobile messenger. These points were enough to nullify her contract with the agency.
Fellow member Hyosung is also in a legal dispute with the agency and cited late payments as one of her main reasons.
TS Entertainment stated that, “There was no problem with the settlment. The company wanted to continue management and entertainment activities for her.”
The legal disputes with the two members caused some speculation if this could turn into the group’s disbandment. However, the agency was cautious not to attract any more negative press.
“SECRET can make an album whenever they want to and are careful to discuss disbanding.”