Jermaine Dupri and his So So Def Productions are being sued for $1.9 million by SunTrust Banks for defaulting on a loan. Should the Grammy Award-winning producer be found at fault, he stands to lose the copyrights and royalties to many So So Def-owned songs as these were put up for collateral against the 2010 loan. Though not specified in the suit, the So So Def catalog includes songs by such acts as Xscape, Bow Wow, Jagged Edge and Da Brat.
According to a report in the Atlanta Journal and on TMZ.com, the lawsuit was filed this week, alleging that Dupri still owes money toward a $4.9 million loan taken out in 2010. In addition to the song copyrights owned by Dupri, So So Def and other businesses, the loan was also backed by a building on Briarwood Court in DeKalb County that includes two recording studios.
Per a separate court document, the loan is reported to have originated in 2009 as part of a previous loan that Dupri signed for to pay off income tax and other liabilities. That loan was readjusted in 2010 with Dupri, So So Def and another Dupri-controlled company, Southside LLC, listed as guarantors. Southside is not named in the current suit. The AJC story reports that SunTrust agreed to permit Dupri to sell a catalog of songs to help repay the debt. While court documents don’t outline which songs were involved, that deal apparently didn’t transpire.
Dupri has been dealing with financial problems for the last several years. In 2011, foreclosure proceedings were initiated on his mansion in northwest Atlanta. An auction slated for May of that year was cancelled, however. According to Fulton tax records, the dwelling is valued at around $4 million. It was back in foreclosure again last December but Fulton records show that the foreclosure hasn’t taken place. And last November, the Briarwood Court studio property was also advertised for foreclosure. But Southside filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection beforehand, per federal court records.
There have also been multiple liens for unpaid property and income taxes. These include federal income tax liens for about $183,000 in unpaid 2008 taxes and more than $2.5 million owed for 2003 and 2005. An income tax lien for more than $3 million in federal income taxes from 2006 was published in 2008, but apparently retired in January 2013, according to online records.
Dupri’s latest financial dilemma follows in the wake of his “All-Star Anniversary Concert” last February, celebrating So So Def’s 20th anniversary. Staged at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, the concert showcased such label hitmakers as rap duo Kris Kross (whose Chris Kelly died on May 1), Da Brat, Jagged Edge, Bow Wow and Xscape.
Messages to Dupri’s representatives for a statement have not yet been returned.