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UNI Imprint Implicated in Drug/Money Laundering Scam
By Moses Avalon
(more articles from this author)
2004-01-06
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Move over Morris Levy and Berry Gordy. There's a new bust coming to the Music Sleaze-Bag Hall of Fame and you guys may have nothing on him: Lyor Cohen, head of the Island Def Jam Music Group.

Lyor was forced to testify in what many are calling one of the ugliest legal hassles in the history of the music business: Conspiring with Platinum rapper Ja Rule, his alleged connection to mob money and a deliberate attempt to block the sales of Ja Rule records by Ja Rule's former label TVT.

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Island Def Jam owned 50 percent of Ja Rule's record label, Murder Inc. which is under investigation for money laundering with one of New York's most infamous drug dealers.

With the success of Ja Rule's recent string of hits, his old label, TVT, decided to release recordings that Ja Rule had made while under contract with them. This is a real payday for a label who invests millions in developing artists, only to have the artists jump ship and have hits on another label.

Lyor took issue, killed negotiations with TVT and sabotaged the record's release. TVT had no choice but to sue. In addition to being head of Island Def Jam, Lyor also served on the executive board of Murder Inc. But, under oath claimed he couldn't state with clarity exactly what his job at the label was.

Final verdict: Island Def Jam will pay $53 million to TVT. Lyor was found personally liable for $3 million. The judge in the case said that Lyor was, morally reprehensible.''

It should be noted that Lyor Cohen is only one man and not representative of Island as a label. After all, no man is an island. ;-)


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