The rapper is said by police to have been fleeced of $2.2 million by his own manager, Kifano “Shotti” Jordan. The manager is also behind bars, having been indicted along with Tekashi and four associates as members of the 9 Trey Gangsta Bloods. The five of them are charged with racketeering and violent crimes involving firearms. Each faces a minimum of 32 years in prison, a maximum of life.
The co-defendants include Jamel “Mel Murda” Jones, who is described by police as the head of the 9 Treys. He was joined by Shotti and two other co-defendants—Jensel “Ish” Butler and Faheem “Crippy” Walter—in making an initial appearance before a magistrate in Manhattan federal court on Monday evening.
In their standard financial disclosure statements, Mel Murda, Ish and Crippy all swore that they were too broke to afford a lawyer and required counsel appointed by the court. Shotti admitted to have $60,000 in a checking account, but according to a law-enforcement source, police believe he has pocketed at least an additional $2.2 million. The rapper’s booking agent, Tashea Ferguson of MTA Booking, dispute’s the police account, saying there was not that much money to begin with, an assertion that seems to be supported by financial records reviewed by The Daily Beast. Ferguson describes Shotti as a completely professional, hardworking and financially responsible manager who charged Tekashi 10 per cent or less when the industry standard if 15 to 20 per cent.
As the police source tells it, Tekashi became aware of the alleged theft when he was contacted by a promoter for an upcoming tour. Police say the promoter told Tekashi that he just wanted to report directly to the rapper how much money he was supposed to have received. Police say the promoter indicated that Shotti should have passed on $2.5 million. Shotti is said by police to have given Tekashi only $300,000.
The attorney who represented Shotti at the initial hearing could not be reached for comment. The lawyer who continues to represent Tekashi did not respond to a detailed request for comment.
Mel Murda, Ish and Crippy might also think that Shotti had more ready money than the contents of his checking account, for they looked expectantly at the former manager when the question of representation and bail arose at the hearing.
But Mel Murda and the other two may not have known just how much. Police believe that Shotti failed to inform them when he allegedly fleeced Tekashi for the $2.2 millon. And judging by Mel Murda's glower when he was remanded along with the others, he is not somebody it is healthy to disappoint, much less to deprive of what he considers his due.
Tekashi seems to have blamed Mel Murda, Ish and Crippy for being in league with Shotti since he announced during a radio appearance on The Breakfast Club show three days before his arrest that he was firing his entire team.
Mel Murda—known as Mel Matrix during his own, stalled attempt at rap stardom—is apparently the Blood member said by authorities to have been overheard on a wiretap saying he wanted to “super-violate” Tekashi in retaliation.
That intercept obliged the FBI to visit Tekashi on Saturday and inform him his life was in danger. He declined protection, but remained under continual surveillance until Sunday evening, when police decided the time had come to arrest him and the four others.
As a result of the firings and the ensuing overheard threat, Tekashi was only brought into the courtroom after the others had been remanded. His tearful mother sat among some of the very cops and agents who had arrested her son rather than with the public, who might have included friends and relatives of his aggrieved co-defendants.
In a failed but passionate attempt to get Tekashi released on bail, his attorney produced statements for three bank accounts, showing deposits of $575,000 and $469,999 and $264,700. The total proffered wealth of $1,308,899 was just a little over half of what police believe Shotti pocketed.
At one point in the Breakfast Club show, Tekashi had suggested that his booking agent, MTA Booking, was “dirty” and had short-changed him big time. Ferguson of MTA hotly denied the accusation and the financial records showing the incoming revenue reviewed by The Daily Beast support her account. The same records show no missing millions that may have ended up in Shotti’s pocket. The phantom fortune may be hype that was fed to Tekashi by the promoter who police believe led the rapper to think he was being robbed. This is apparently the same promoter said by the booking agent to have told Tekashi that he is a nephew of El Chapo the drug lord.
Tekashi’s decision to fire his team and the angry remarks that accompanied it may have become more understandable to Murda and the 9 Trey Bloods with word of the theft. They could not rightly blame Tekashi for assuming they were all in on it with Shotti. Who would be nuts enough to cheat the likes of them, Mel Murda in particular?
However much he did or did not steal from Tekashi, Shotti will never have an opportunity to take so much as a penny more. And Shotti may have to contend with Mel Murda and a set of angry 9 Trey Bloods described by police as “an extremely violent gang” that at last count had 44 members behind bars on charges that apparently include murder.
A senior law enforcement official offered an assessment of Shotti’s predicament.
“He’s caught between the golden goose he killed and Mel Murda,” the official said.
Editor's Note 11/24: This article was updated with comments from the rapper’s booking agent, Tashea Ferguson.