Unpaid money for music by the late Notorious B.I.G. is at the heart of a new lawsuit filed against rap mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs.
According to the Associated Press, James Sabatino, a former consultant for Combs’ Bad Boy Entertainment Inc., claims that Combs owes him more than $19 million for music by the rapper.
In the suit, Sabatino said that he flew B.I.G. to Miami in 1994 to perform at a show and record some music.
About 17 minutes of vocals were recorded by the rapper during the session, which was captured on 90 minutes of video footage.
The lawsuit further stated that although a contract was never signed, it was understood that both belonged to Sabatino because he paid for the B.I.G.’s travel expenses and studio time.
According to the suit, Combs agreed later that year to pay Sabatino $200,000 for the recorded music and video footage.
Sabatino received a check for $25,000 with a promise from Combs the rest of the money would be paid in 60 days.
Sabatino, who is still awaiting payment, claims Combs cited the Los Angeles Police Departments investigation of B.I.G.s murder as the reason for the delay, saying the LAPD had named Sabatino a person of interest in the rapper’s death.
Sabatino was a no-show for a scheduled meeting with B.I.G. on the night of the killing.
While arrangements couldve been made to pay the money, the suit stated that Combs worried it could be misconstrued if the public found out his company had paid a person of interest in the killing.
Sabatino, admitted that he felt pressured not to talk about his situation with Combs, because the mogul had been questioned by authorities about B.I.G.s death, according to the suit.
Although Combs apparently told police he did not feel Sabatino was involved in the slaying, Sabatino revealed that he was afraid that Combs would change his story and implicate him even if it was not true.
Combs’ attorney did not immediately comment Saturday night, the AP reports, adding that a listing for Sabatino’s attorney could not be found.
Sabatino, who is currently in prison, is seeking $19 million for both actual and punitive damages, according to the suit.