Damon Dash, a co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records alongside Jay-Z and Kareem “Biggs” Burke in 1995, faces the potential auctioning off of his one-third ownership share in the iconic record label due to an ongoing legal battle. This latest chapter in Dash’s tumultuous legal history originates from a strained relationship between Dash and filmmaker Josh Webber.
The drama began when Dash was enlisted by Muddy Water Pictures in 2016 to co-direct the movie “Dear Frank.” However, two years later, Dash was removed from the project, with allegations of him being high on set. Undeterred, Dash began promoting himself as a producer for the movie, even changing its title to “The List.” This led to a lawsuit in 2019, culminating in a jury ruling against Dash, ordering him to pay $805,000 in damages to Webber and Muddy Water Pictures.
To settle this judgment, Christopher Brown, Webber’s lawyer, is now pushing to auction off Dash’s one-third interest in Roc-A-Fella Records. Brown, who has been involved in various lawsuits against Dash over the years, including cases related to stolen movies, photographs, defamation, and sexual assault, aims to satisfy the “Dear Frank” judgment through the sale of Dash’s Roc-A-Fella shares.
However, this attempt faces opposition from high-powered lawyer Alex Spiro, who represents Jay-Z and his interests in Roc-A-Fella. Spiro points out that the company’s by-laws strictly forbid such transfers or sales without board approval, which neither Brown, Webber, nor Dash have sought or obtained.
Spiro explains that, according to the by-laws, any transfer of equity interest must receive board approval, rendering any auction of Dash’s interest “void and ineffectual.” The Roc-A-Fella board is entitled to decide whether to approve any such transfer, and they have not granted consent for this auction.
Currently, a judge has sided with Roc-A-Fella Records on the matter, albeit due to a technicality: Brown and Webber failed to demonstrate that the necessary authorities had obtained Dash’s interest, a prerequisite for ordering the sale of a judgment debtor’s personal property.
Furthermore, although Roc-A-Fella’s board has asserted its right to intervene, it has not formally moved to do so, signaling potential complications in future legal proceedings. Despite these setbacks, Christopher Brown remains determined and has urged the court to reconsider. He points out that Roc-A-Fella failed to issue Dash stock certificates, a crucial factor in validating Dash’s interest in the label.
As the legal battle unfolds, Damon Dash’s ownership shares in Roc-A-Fella Records hang in the balance, marking yet another legal challenge for the storied record label. In 2021, Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella sued co-founder Dame Dash for attempting to sell his shares as a “Reasonable Doubt” NFT without authorization. While that dispute was resolved in June 2022, the current legal battle presents a fresh set of complexities surrounding ownership interests in the label.
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Derek Chan – Editor