US rockers Hawthorne Heights are sueing their record company boss in a bid to escape from their contract. The pop-punk act accused Victory Records boss TONY BRUMMEL of "heavy handed" and "unethical" practices in a suit filed in Chicago, Illinois yesterday (07AUG06). The group claims Brummel's "illegal schemes and tactics" served to "line his and Victory's own pockets" at their expense. Hawthorne Heights are demanding the return of master recordings and the cancellation of all copyright agreements and punitive damages, as well as an injunction to prevent Brummel and his company from releasing or distributing their albums and DVDs. The breaking point for the band came when Brummel distributed a "manifesto" he claimed Hawthorne Heights had endorsed, blasting R+B and hip-hop artists. In its suit, the band claim the missive made them look like racists. Brummel insists the group owes his label $1 million (GBP555,500).