By: Grouchy Greg Watkins (@grouchygreg
Rap-A-Lot CEO James "J. Prince" Prince has denied that the legendary Houston-based label is co-owned by convicted drug kingpin Michael "Harry-O" Harris.
Prince did not attend a hearing in Los Angeles today (Oct. 12) relating to the matter but he and his attorney offered up a challenge to settle Harris and his attorney Steve Golderg’s claims that Harris is owed money.
The incarcerated Harris charges that he owns half of the company and provided startup capital to launch Rap-A-Lot. He also claims that he is rightfully entitled to half of the label’s earnings, dating back to its formation in 1986.
Prince, however, fiercely denies Harris and Goldberg’s claims that Harris was an early investor in the label that helped launch the careers of the Geto Boys, Scarface, Yukmouth, and the Luniz, among others.
"I’ve been dealing with Feds, snitches, and rats all my life, conspiring to destroy me and Rap-A-Lot," J. Prince told AllHipHop.com in a statement.
"This is nothing new to me. It’s interesting, you have this Harris guy, a L.A. rat, who’s lonely and desperate because the best thing that ever happened to him has divorced him and moved back to Houston with all his money," Prince added, referring to Harris’ estranged wife Lydia, who recently won a $107 million default judgment against Death Row Records after the label’s CEO/co-founder Suge Knight missed multiple court dates to answer her claims of owning interest in the label."
"The only explanation that I have for him waking up in prison after 20 years saying that I made an oral agreement for 50 percent of Rap-A-Lot is he must think that his ex-wife [Lydia] still has a special place in her heart for me," Prince quipped.
Harris, who is serving a 28-year sentence in San Quentin State Prison in Calif. for attempted murder and drug dealing, claimed he invested $1.5 million to help start Death Row in 1991 with Marion "Suge" Knight and Knight’s attorney, David Kenner.
According to reports, Harris filed for divorce in June 2005, after learning that his wife Lydia was allegedly in settlement negotiations with Knight and was planning to cut him out of her $107 million judgment.
Harris later filed another lawsuit, claiming he was entitled to half of the judgment Knight and Death Row eventually filed for bankruptcy protection to avoid paying the sum.
The label is currently being managed by a bankruptcy trustee, which will auction off the label’s assets to pay creditors.
In September, attorneys for Harris sought to question Prince about his business dealings with Knight in front of a Houston judge, claiming that he had also helped Prince launch the label.
Prince’s attorney Warren Fitzgerald, Jr. explained that the mogul felt that the order to appear in front of the judge violated Prince’s rights.
Through Fitzgerald, Jr., Prince filed an appeal and won a stay of deposition, which is still pending."
For Goldberg to make the statements about what he’s going to find out about Prince and Knight violates the courts order," said Fitzgerald, Jr.
"I’m not Suge and Rap-A-Lot ain’t no Death Row, so they can find another ambulance to chase," Prince said. "So I look forward to dealing with his bootleg lawyer, this frivolous lawsuit, and Harris the rat if and when he gets out."
"If Goldberg and Harris really think they have a claim, after 20 years of doing nothing, they can file a lawsuit, where the facts count, rather than grandstanding and publicity seeking in the media, and misleading the public with half truths and out right lies," said Fitzgerald. "The truth is Harris’ claim doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell in a court of law."