Death Row Records, New Delaware Litigation Exposes Self Dealing

Death Row Records, New Delaware Litigation Exposes Self Dealing

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There has been a surprising change in the weather in the ongoing Death Row Records owner dispute between the company’s former CEO/President Lara Lavi (note corrected spelling is Laura Lavi) and Canadian banker, Ron Ovenden who is also the Chairman of New Solutions Capital, the private lending company that loaned part of the money to purchase the Death Row Records and Suge Knight Publishing Assets in a California Bankruptcy Proceeding in January 2009. On August 31, 2010 by electronic filing Laura Lavi filed a lawsuit against Wideawake Deathrow Entertainment LLC (“Deathrow”) to “compel inspection of books and records to investigate potential self-dealing and breaches of fiduciary duty by Ronald Ovenden, a member and manager of the Death Row LLC.” Today, the registered agent for Deathrow was served with the complaint.

This new lawsuit comes after a succession of favorable court results for Ms. Lavi starting with the Canadian Court’s ruling on February 17, 2010 where Mr. Ovenden did not win confirmation that he has control of the Delaware LLC and instead Justice Campbell has sent the case to trial at the end of this year to determine if Mr. Ovenden rightfully removed Ms. Lavi. Then in June 2010, Mr. Ovenden lost his onerous sanctions motion against Ms. Lavi when Judge Barbara Kapnick ruled that Ms. Lavi did not lie to the New York court.

What is at stake here is control of one of the worlds greatest urban music catalogs. Death Row Records and Suge Knight Publishing which includes the music of multi platinum artists Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Tupac Shakur. Despite being the “David” to Ron Ovenden/New Solutions Capital’s “Goliath”, Ms. Lavi appears to be tenaciously holding on to what seems to still be her desire to keep her promise to all the former Death Row artists when she publically stated last January 2009 that acquiring the Death Row Assets from bankruptcy would bring a “new day” for the artists and producers that made Death Row great. These artists are all still waiting for that “new day.”

Death Row is distributed by E-1 Entertainment in North America and the lawsuit references E-1 as another possible source of the company’s books and records.

Explains Ms. Lavi’s Delaware Counsel David L. Finger of Finger & Slanina, “The Delaware lawsuit is the first step towards getting to the truth about what Mr. Ovenden and his company New Solutions Capital did with the $5million in advances Ms. Lavi raised to capitalize the Death Row LLC. Only the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware has jurisdiction over a complaint to compel inspection of a Delaware LLC’s books and records. Ms. Lavi has every right to these documents as she is an owner and a managing member.”

Death Row’s President John Payne and New Solutions’ Managing Director, Robert Thompson-So continue to run the day to day operations for Death Row but neither could be reached for this story. Ms. Lavi was not available for comment either.

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