The Source Magazine
the filing of a multimillion dollar lawsuit against the Black Enterprise Greenwich
Street private equity fund, claiming members plotted to steal the magazine and
illegally fired Source founder Dave Mays as CEO.
Mays has retained
the law firm of Cole, Schotz, Meisel, Forman & Leonard P.A., to help him
regain control of the magazine he founded in 1988 out of his Harvard University
"Since I started
this magazine 18 years ago, I have always placed the best interests of my readers
first, and I built a vibrant business by earning the trust and loyalty of millions
of Hip-Hop fans across the world," Mays said in a statement. "I did
this by always making sure that The Source’s editorial voice was unbiased
and independent of commercial influences, standing strong in the face of Hip-Hop’s
detractors and never bowing down to corporate or advertiser pressures.
"It is truly
sad to see that my ‘partners’ at Black Enterprise appear to have gone behind
my back and chosen to blatantly undermine the editorial integrity of the Hip-Hop
community’s only independently-owned media voice, selling our readership out
to corrupt big-corporate interests for their own selfish financial gain."
Mays’ lawsuit alleges
intentional, malicious and bad faith conduct in an attempt to wrestle control
of the magazine, which had defaulted on $18 million dollars in loans from backer
Textron Financial Corp.
Mays and the magazine’s
co-founder, Ray "Benzino" Scott, allege that they still retain 82%
shareholders in the company, while The Black Enterprise Greenwich Street Fund
acquired the other 18% for $12 million in April of 2002.
to steal our magazine is probably fueled by their desire to add it to their
own struggling publishing operation [Black Enterprise magazine, which]
I believe has not been nearly as profitable for them in recent years as it once
was," Benzino said in a statement.
The two parties
will face each other in front of Honorable Justice Richard Lowe in New York
State Supreme Court on Feb. 21.
In January, Mays
and Scott were terminated from their positions as CEO’s. A new board of directors
designated former Source COO Jeremy Miller to serve as the new CEO. Miller
vowed to turn the magazine around.
Mays is seeking
an immediate injunction that will reinstate him as CEO of the company, removing
Miller from the position.