SunTrust suing Jermaine Dupri, So So Def for $1.9M

Atlanta music mogul Jermaine Dupri and his So So Def Productions have been sued for $1.9 million, accused by SunTrust Banks of defaulting on a loan.

The lawsuit filed this week in Atlanta appears to be the latest in a string of financial challenges for the Grammy winner, one of the most prominent music producers in the nation.

In SunTrust’s lawsuit, the bank alleges that Dupri is in default and still owes money toward a $4.9 million loan from 2010. The loan is backed by copyrighted music owned by Dupri, So So Def and other businesses, as well as a building on Briarwood Court in DeKalb County that houses two recording studios.

Neither SunTrust nor Dupri, listed as Jermaine Dupri Mauldin in the court documents, immediately returned messages seeking comment Thursday.

The debt originated in 2009 as part of an earlier loan that Dupri took on to pay off income tax and other liabilities, according to a separate court document.

The loan was adjusted in 2010 and Dupri, So So Def and another company controlled by Dupri, Southside LLC, were listed as guarantors. Southside was not named in the suit.

At one point, SunTrust agreed to allow Dupri to sell a catalog of songs as part of a plan to repay the debt. The documents do not specify which songs, but that deal apparently fell apart.

Dupri has faced financial pressure before.

In 2011, foreclosure proceedings were initiated on Dupri’s mansion on Mount Paran Road in northwest Atlanta. A planned auction in May of that year was canceled at the last minute, according to a Channel 2 Action News report at the time. The mansion today is valued at around $4 million, according to Fulton tax records.

Dupri’s Mount Paran home was advertised for foreclosure again in December 2012, according to records in the Fulton County Daily Report. It does not appear that a foreclosure took place.

Last November, the Briarwood Court recording studio property also was advertised for foreclosure. Before it could be auctioned off, Southside filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to federal court records.

The music mogul also has been slapped in recent years with multiple liens for unpaid property and income taxes. Virtually all the liens, however, were quickly canceled or listed as satisfied after they were published, presumably for full payment.

They include federal income tax liens for about $183,000 in unpaid 2008 taxes, as well as more than $2.5 million owed for 2003 and 2005.

An income tax lien seeking more than $3 million in federal income taxes from 2006 was published in 2008, but it was not retired until January of this year, online records show.

At least one state income tax lien filed in 2010 in Fulton County appears to still be active. That lien seeks more than $10,500 in taxes, interest and penalties for state taxes owed for 2008.

In February, Dupri held an “All-Star Anniversary Concert” to mark the 20th year of his record label. The concert at the Fox Theatre featured So So Def’s laundry list of artists, including Kris Kross, Da Brat, Jagged Edge, Xscape, Bow Wow and others.

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