In an interview with Los Angeles Times writer
Chuck Phillips, Irv Gotti broke his silence surrounding the allegations that
his Murder Inc. company and various spin-off businesses were involved in money
laundering with Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, a notorious Queens, New
York drug dealer.
Gotti stuck to the claims that he was simply
helping out a friend, helping to finance the $300,000 film, "Crime Partners,"
which included the purchase of a $75,000 Range Rover for McGriff.
"I never saw Supreme with no bags of cash.
To be honest with you, though, I can't swear he never sold drugs after he got
out of prison. I'm not going to sit here and say I definitely know he didn't.
But I'm going to tell you this: If he did, he wasn't doing it very good. Because
he was always broke. That much I can attest to. The Supreme I know in 2003 isn't
the rich, powerful drug dealer with the $200,000-a-day crack enterprise the
government busted in the 1980s. The Supreme I know did not have a dime."
Gotti said that paying for McGriff's flights
to various cities, in which McGriff traveled under assumed names, was merely
a goodwill gesture, because McGriff may have been heading back to prison at
the time. Gotti also said that the SUV was simply a gift to a friend.
"It was a gift. If I know my friend is going
to jail and he wants a Range Rover, and it's the last thing he gets to do is
drive around in the Range Rover, I'll buy it," Gotti said. "He may
never get out the rest of his life. Understand? I'm feeling bad for the guy.
My goal is to do all I can for a close friend of mine as he gets psyched up
to deal with incarceration."
Gotti flatly denied wrongdoing, saying that the
government was wrong in their allegations and that he frequently purchased gifts
for his mother, father, brother and other close associates.
Gotti said that he met McGriff in 1995, while
he was shooting/directing a video in Queens.
"The first conversation we had, he talked
about how inspired he was to make a movie. He asked me if I knew about Donald
Goines, the great street novelist. Then he bought me some Donald Goines books
and told me to read them: "Black Gangster," "Whoreson,"
"Crime Partners." You know how big Stephen King books are in the horror
flick world? That's how big he thought Donald Goines was going to be in hip-hop.
From the moment Supreme got out of jail, he wanted to buy the rights to a bunch
of Donald Goines books."
Gotti said that he did not need to do anything
illegal to earn money when so much legitimate money was floating around in the
While Gotti is banking on Ashanti's forthcoming
CD, Chapter 2 to be a smash, he said that the probe was hindering his business.
"It's crippling me. You have no idea. The
bank cut us off. The landlord kicked us out. I love America, man, but this here,
I don't understand. Still, I have faith. I believe when the prosecutors finish
reviewing everything, they will learn I did nothing wrong."
In related news, a man labeled as the star of
the film "Crime Partners" was arrested on June 13 in Los Angeles during
a routine traffic stop.
Police found two unregistered loaded handguns
in a Cadillac Escalade that was driven by one of Bryant's "bodyguards."
Two men were arrested for possessing the firearms.
Bryant was arrested for suspicion of possession
of a controlled substance, after officers found four tablets of Ecstasy on him.
According to the Los Angeles Times the Escalade
was registered to Ja Rule. The rapper was not charged with any crimes and the
vehicle was later released to him.