'Bling Empire' Star Kelly Mi Li Sues Show's Producer Claiming She Came Up with Idea for the Series

Kelli Mi Li claims she created the concept for Netflix's Bling Empire but was never given credit

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 08: Kelly Mi Li attends The Little Market's International Women's Day Luncheon on March 08, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Kelly Mi Li. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty

Bling Empire star Kelly Mi Li is accusing the show's producer Jeff Jenkins of taking her concept for the Netflix reality series and not giving her credit in a new lawsuit.

On Thursday Li, 36, filed the complaint against Jenkins, known for his credits on E! shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Total Divas, in the Los Angeles Superior Court, according to documents obtained by PEOPLE. She said in the complaint that she came up with the idea for Bling Empire –– which features Li and other wealthy Asian Americans living the glamorous life in Los Angeles –– and told Jenkins about it in early 2018.

The suit alleged Li and Jenkins worked together for months to develop Bling Empire, "leading to the successful sale of the" show. It added that Jenkins, his production company Jeff Jenkins Productions, and Bongo, LLC "took and exploited Plaintiff Li's concept and materials, and entered into agreements creating obligations" that she would be paid and named an executive producer on the show.

Li claimed in court documents that she is "entitled to" an episodic fee of 25 percent, 100 percent of Jenkin's executive producer fee for each episode she produced with him, and a 5 percent annual increase. "Additionally, Plaintiff Li was to receive contingent compensation in the amount of 20 percent of 100 percent of the Modified Adjusted Gross received and retained from Jenkins for the Project or from any derivative work," the claim added.

"However, Defendants and each of them failed to honor the obligations and duties owed to Plainitiff and stand in breach," court documents said.

Li and Jenkins entered an agreement in May 2018 that was good for one year, but would be extended if Jenkins had begun negotiations with a buyer before the year was up. Though Jenkins was in talks with Netflix for the purchase of Bling Empire before his and Li's agreement expired, she said in her lawsuit that the defendants "failed and refused to perform" the terms in their agreement.

She asked for an unspecified amount of damages along with an accounting of the funds that were borrowed and invested.

Representatives for Li and Jenkins did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Netflix did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Earlier this month, Netflix announced season two of Bling Empire, which is set to premiere on Netflix on May 13.

The streaming service promised that season 2 will feature "even more luxury, glamor and crazy" than season 1. The forthcoming episodes will also feature two new cast members: entrepreneur and former Rich Kids of Beverly Hills star Dorothy Wang and businesswoman Mimi Morris.

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In addition to welcoming Wang and Morris to the cast, the upcoming season of Bling Empire comes with endless drama, from questions surrounding Cherie Chan and Jessey Lee (who previously announced they would not participate in season 2) to a budding romance between Kim Lee and Kevin Taejin Kreider, whose friendship with Kane Lim will be put to the test.

"But through it all, the one thing these friends hold dearest to their hearts is their love for each other … and of course, impeccable style," Netflix said in a news release.

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Li celebrated the sophomore season on Instagram and TikTok with a video compiling some of her favorite memories with her fellow cast members to Harry Styles' new hit song "As It Was."

"We're finally coming back!!!" the film producer, 36, captioned her posts. "Any guesses on what happens in Season 2 of Bling Empire? 😜"

She added, "We can't wait to share with you so mark your calendar!"

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