The future of the West Coast rap label Death Row Records is in serious doubt.
Label co-founder Suge Knight has been told by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ronald Sohigian that he is prepared to take control of all of Knight’s assets – including Death Row.
The ruling came after it was determined that Knight had avoided paying a $107 million (£61,237,175) civil judgement won by former business partner Lydia Harris.
However, according to MTV News, Sohigian has said that Knight could avoid the order if he fully disclosed his assets in a debtor’s exam on April 1.
If the record-label boss decides not to take part in the exam, the judge will appoint a court officer to take control of Knight’s finances.
Sohigian has ruled that Knight failed to pay off the $107 million judgement which was awarded to Harris last March. She claimed that the rap boss had cheated her out of a 50 per cent stake in the label.
Harris’ attorney Rex Julian Beaber said: “Because he had a long history of deceiving the court and avoiding payment, I asked the court to appoint a receiver to take over.”
According to Reuters, he added: “If Knight cooperates in providing the information, he can ask the court to remove the receiver. But I don’t think there’s a chance in hell Knight is going to cooperate.”
Dermot Givens – Knight’s lawyer – has said that Sohigian has not formally signed the order to seize any assets. He expected the decision to be overturned by providing proof that Harris and Knight had already reached a settlement in the case.
“In May of 2005, (Harris) received a million dollars and rights to various music, and she signed a settlement agreement,” he said.
However, Harris’s former husband, Michael claims that he is entitled to half of his ex-wife’s $107 million judgement.
When Michael Harris – currently serving a 28 year prison sentence – learnt that his wife was in settlement negotiations with Knight in June 2005, he filed for divorce.
Givens claims that Lydia is trying to back out of the settlement due to pressure from Michael, who would be entitled in a share of the original judgement.