Disgraced former Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight, who’s currently awaiting trial on a murder charge, has now had another accusation thrown at him.
Record producer/rapper Scott Storch, who’s produced artists including Dr. Dre, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and many others, accuses Knight of bullying Storch into handing over songwriter royalties for a fraction of their worth, according to legal papers obtained by TheWrap.
According to the legal papers, Storch was coerced into signing over the royalties while he was high, and “in fear of his personal safety due to Knight’s threats and intimidation.”
“This is an adversary proceeding for damages and equitable relief arising from defendant [Music Royalty Consulting Inc.]’s calculated and potentially criminal collaboration with former Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight to threaten, intimidate and coerce the Debtor to convey his rights to songwriting royalties to MRCI for pennies on the dollar,” the papers, filed in bankruptcy court in Florida, read. “With MRCI’s knowledge, Knight literally dragged the Debtor to MRCI’s office to sign MRCI’s appalling contracts of adhesion while the Debtor was under the influence of drugs, unrepresented, and in fear of his personal safety due to Knight’s threats and intimidation.”
In addition to strong-arming Storch into agreeing to a raw deal, the papers say, Knight also took the “lion’s share” of the nominal payments that Storch did receive “as a sort of ‘commission'” for his services.
According to the papers, Storch filed for bankruptcy in June 2015.
“Unfortunately, during various times in his career, [Storch] struggled with drug addiction. The Debtor’s drug problems were well-known in the music industry, and among the company he kept, both personally and professionally,” the papers read. “The combination of the Debtor’s prolific career, the corresponding financial rewards, his drug problems, and his lack of financial acumen and high school education, made him an appealing target for many individuals who sought to profit from his struggles.”
According to the court papers, Storch became pressed for money due to his drug addiction and lifestyle, and his most valuable assets at the time were the rights to future royalty payments for the songs that he had worked on.
The papers say that Storch sold the publisher’s share of his royalty rights to Reservoir Media Management, Inc. for $2.3 million — which, the papers claim, is the same amount that the writer’s royalties are worth.
But instead of receiving another $2.3 million for his songwriter’s royalties, Storch got the royal screw-job, the papers say.
The papers claim that Knight, who lived in the same gated community as Storch, knew about Storch’s drug and financial woes.
“Recognizing an opportunity to quickly and easily obtain money from the Debtor, on or about April 9, 2012, Knight retrieved the Debtor from his home and brought him to the offices of MRCI for a meeting,” the papers allege.
After signing over his writer’s royalties to MRCI, the papers say, he was handed a check for a paltry $5,000 — which Knight took more than half of after the check was cashed.
Storch later received another check for $58,000, the papers say, which “Knight again threatened and intimidated the Debtor into surrendering to Knight at least half of the cash received.”
All told, the papers say, Storch received $419,306.20, which Knight took more than half of “through a combination of threats and intimidation.”
Alleging fraud and other counts, the lawsuit is asking that MRCI return the writer’s share of Storch’s royalties.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.