The expression ''It's business, never personal'' is easier said than understood as we witness countless examples of money getting in the way of long term relationships.
The latest example of finances coming in between friends is a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed by Demetrius “Kinky B” Ellerbee against his CTE business partner and hip hop superstar Young Jeezy.
In the lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court, Ellerbee said he and Jeezy, whose real name is Jay Wayne Jenkins, founded Atlanta-based CTE Music in 2001 as equal partners and later signed with Def Jam to distribute the rising rap artist's music.
But despite the success of CTE, also known as Corporate Thugz Entertainment, Ellerbee has seen little of the millions of dollars in Def Jam advances and royalties paid to the company, according to Ellerbee's Atlanta attorney, Mario Breedlove.
Breedlove, who said Jeezy intentionally "misappropriated" company funds and redirected them into his personal accounts, said Ellerbee is owed at least $5 million, but the figure is much higher when royalties and interest are figured. He said he is still awaiting an accounting of all Def Jam payments to CTE Music to find out the exact amount his client is owed.
“Essentially, Young Jeezy just kind of took over the company, and elected to take all the funds,” Breedlove told the AJC.
“They were partners. They started the company together. They grew the company together. And he’s entitled to one-half.”
Ellerbee is owed at least $5 million, according to Breedlove, but that figure will rise much higher after royalties and advances are figured. They are awaiting a full accounting of all payments to CTE to determine the exact amount Ellerbee is owed. He is also seeking interest, punitive damages and legal costs.
The suit also lists Def Jam and Universal Music Group as defendants.
Ellerbee is the founder of Hush Management, a music company he started in 2006 in Atlanta. In an online bio, Ellerbee says he has " negotiated multi-million dollar endorsement deals, managed projects and overseen collaborations with Jeezy and superstars such as Usher, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Mary J.Blige, Rick Ross, Timberland, Jay-Z, The Dream, Fabolous, Jadakiss, and R. Kelly."
Young Jeezy and Ellerbee's business relationship was chronicled in Jeezy's ''A Hustlerz Ambition'' documentary.