Ye, aka Kanye West, accused of trashing Miami recording studio

Anti-Semitic comments have cost the entertainer formerly known as Kanye West a string of his most valuable business connections in recent days.

Above these problems comes a lawsuit that claims West agreed to use a Miami ‘event space’ as a recording studio for 25 days in January, ordered it cleared of all colored furniture, then stiffed the owner of the 145 $813 agreed by one of his agents.

The space, called Surface Area, is located at 151 Northeast 41st Street in the city’s trendy design district. A website for its owner, Surface Media LLC, describes it as a “shoppable showroom featuring hand-selected design objects and a curated art collection.”

The site adds, “By day, it also serves as a content studio for a team of Surface editors and creatives. At night, the shop transforms into a venue for live programming, panels, cocktails, dinners, parties and more.

Crafts for sale in the showroom include an “ultra-durable” perfume bottle for $565, ​​a woolen jacket for $825, a car-style cigarette lighter for $280, a handbag with a wooden handle for $1,100 and $3,000. mushroom-shaped lamps.

Ye’s management company did not respond to emails seeking comment on this story.

Surface Media’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Miami, says Ye ordered the removal and storage of more than 20 valuable works of art and 40 pieces of furniture and decorations housed in the space so that it can be replaced with sound equipment, other furniture, and art” to match [Ye’s] desired color scheme.

On Jan. 5, Laurence Chandler, who ran Ye’s Yeezy fashion line, confirmed to Surface Area officials that Ye would lease the space for the remainder of January with the option to lease the space for additional time, the report said. suit.

Arrangements for removing art and furniture and customizing the space to Ye’s liking began that night, the suit says.

Jonathan Smulevich, an attorney with the Miami-based law firm Lowy and Cook, PA, which represents the plaintiff, said via email that “no request was too big or too small” for Surface Media staff. “You asked and they delivered, and my client incurred significant costs and expenses to deliver.”

The lawsuit says Ye was represented by several other parties who had the authority to act on his behalf, including Chandler, manager Steven Victor and Charles Misodi Njapa, a record producer and rapper known as 88-Keys.

Niapa had the authority to act on Ye’s behalf in the Surface Area rental, the lawsuits say. iPhone screenshots of text exchanges filed as exhibits in the lawsuit show messages under the name 88-Keys asking, “Can we remove all color artwork. Ye seeks to make all space black and white. And furniture that is neither black nor white. Also to be removed. »

A Surface Media representative, identified in the conversation as “Catie,” assured that, “We have a collection of art and furniture in stock that we can bring in to replace anything with color.”

Another message from “Laurence” says he thinks Ye wants everything cleared from space “and then [Ye] can overlap.

In a message, 88-Keys instructs the crew to work faster, stating, “The sooner the better…always (General rule when working with Ye).”

Other requests relayed to Ye by 88-Keys were for black leather office chairs, the suit of which cost $813 for four, and a door to the makeshift studio. Photos of various chairs submitted for Ye’s approval can be seen in the screenshots.

Steven Victor joined the conversation via text message after Catie posted a spreadsheet outlining the cost of the project.

“Steven is just waiting for your budget to be signed,” Catie said.

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“It’s fine,” replied Steven Victor.

Another exhibit shows the invoice: $125,000 to rent the space for 25 days, $20,000 for moving costs and $813 for four office chairs.

According to the lawsuit, “the defendant did not pay any amount to the plaintiff.”

The lawsuit says Ye and his associates “began using the space to record music” on January 7.

“Several musicians recorded at the start of the setup,” Smulevich said, “and although Ye planned to record in space, he didn’t.

“My client is simply asking for the payment he was promised for his hard work in customizing and renting this unique space,” he said.

Ron Hurtibise covers business and consumer issues for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. He can be reached by phone at 954-356-4071, on Twitter @ronhurtibise or by email at [email protected].

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