A Houston music promoter said in a lawsuit that he agreed to pay Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy $1,000 a minute for an hour-long concert in Texas last December, but the musician skipped the concert for a party and kept his $30,000 deposit.
Now Jay Jenkins, the 39-year-old rapper who goes by Jeezy or Young Jeezy, faces a civil lawsuit filed Feb. 8 in the U.S. District Court in Houston that accuses him of fraud and breach of contract.
The promoter, Darryl Austin, said in the lawsuit that Jenkins’ brush-off damaged his reputation and cost him more than $100,000 in expenses and lost revenues. Austin said he had sold $154,000 worth of concert tickets and paid for advertising and booking Houston’s Arena Theatre for the Dec. 9 concert.
“Fans think it is (my) fault,” Austin said in his lawsuit. “The venue has lost confidence in plaintiff Darryl Austin’s ability to follow through when he books events at their facility and will require more up-front money for him to reserve events.”
So far, he added, the Arena Theatre hasn’t returned the deposit he paid to reserve the space.
The lawsuit also named Sammy Mumphery and YJ Productions and Concerts, Jenkins’ Atlanta agent and promoter who had arranged the contract for the concert performance.
Austin said he had worked with the same parties to set up earlier concerts by Jenkins in Houston.
Jenkins and Mumphery couldn’t be reached for comment.
This is not the first time Jenkins has faced legal troubles, according to Wikipedia and news accounts.
In 2005, he was arrested in Miami Beach, Fla., for alleged illegal possession of a concealed firearm, but the charges were later dropped.
In 2007, after destroying his Lamborghini when he crashed into a taxi on Peachtree Street, he told The Atlanta Journal Constitution that the accident gave him “a new appreciation for life.” Several months later Atlanta police charged him with DUI.
In 2014, Jenkins was arrested for battery after an alleged fight with his son.
He was arrested again several months later in California, a few days after a deadly shooting backstage at a concert, when police raided his tour bus and found an AK-47 assault rifle.
The charges were dropped after it was determined the rifle belonged to Jenkins’ security chief, who had been hospitalized earlier after being shot at another event.
Jenkins has also faced legal disputes with other artists over music copyright issues.
So what would cause a well-known rap artist who has sold millions of records to blow off a concert?
He didn’t like the venue, even though he had played there “on at least six other occasions,” according to Austin’s lawsuit.
According to Austin’s lawsuit, last October, Jenkins agreed through his agents to put on a one-hour concert at the Arena Theatre for $60,000. Austin said he signed a contract with Jenkins’ agent for the engagement the next day and paid a $30,000 deposit.
However, a month later, Jenkins’ agents told Austin the artist didn’t want to perform at that venue. Austin said he had already sold more than 1,000 tickets at that point, according to the lawsuit.
“Feeling cornered and in distress,” Austin said in the lawsuit, he agreed to increase Jenkins’ fee to $80,000.
“However, at the last minute, (Jenkins) decided to attend an album release party in Atlanta for his new album and to nix the Dec. 9 … performance in Houston,” Austin said in the lawsuit.
He said he tried to salvage the concert by offering to fly Jenkins back to Atlanta afterwards in a private jet, or to reschedule the concert to Dec. 17.
But Jenkins “still refused to perform and refused to return the $30,000 he had taken as a deposit,” according to the lawsuit.
Austin said he wants Jenkins to pay at least $100,000 in damages plus more cash for the damage done to his reputation, and he wants his deposit back.
Or “in the alternative,” according to the lawsuit, Jenkins can perform the concert he agreed to and pay whatever damage award a jury decides.