Jay-Z Slams SEC Subpoena As ‘Celebrity Hunt’
Just weeks prior to the start of his worldwide stadium tour with Beyonce, Jay-Z clawed back at the Securities Exchange Commission in court papers Monday for making demands that he calls “excessive, unwarranted, and in need of judicial curtailment.”
The prolific rapper faces regulatory fire over 10-year-old dealings the New York-based Iconix Brand Group Inc, which bought certain rights associated with Jay-Z’s Rocawear apparel brand for more than $200 million in 2008.
This past March meanwhile, Iconix announced a $34 million write down of Rocawear that compounds a $169 million write down from 2016.Claiming that Jay-Z has failed to comply with two subpoenas in the last six months, the SEC asked a federal judge in Manhattan last week for an order to show cause.
Jay-Z fired back Monday with an 18-page opposition brief drafted by his attorneys at Quinn Emanuel. Insisting that the SEC’s questions can be resolved in a single day of testimony, the brief calls the SEC’s has “badly and baldly overreached” by pushing for indefinite access.
“This opposition reflects [Jay-Z’s] concern that the SEC’s instant request is unreasonably and unnecessarily burdensome and is driven more by governmental fascination with celebrity and headlines than by any proper investigative purpose,” the brief states.
The court papers refer to Jay-Z by his given name, Shawn Carter. U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe is set to hold a hearing on the issue Tuesday afternoon.
In Monday’s filing, Jay-Z’s attorneys note that the rapper never served on the board or of as a principal for Iconix, and that his insight into the investigation will be highly limited.
“The notion that Mr. Carter has unique knowledge of consequence to the SEC in this matter is farfetched, at best; the notion that he has more than a couple of hours’ worth, let alone one full day’s worth, of such knowledge is fanciful at this point; and insistence that Mr. Carter be compelled to testify for multiple days is nothing short of abusive,” the brief states.
The SEC refused offers to have Jay-Z provide information through an attorney proffer or a telephone interview, according the memorandum.
By rejecting Jay-Z’s request for reasonable accommodation, the attorneys say the SEC’s demand “raises serious questions about whether this exercise has transcended any investigative purpose and crossed over into a celebrity hunt.” Representatives at Quinn Emanuel did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
On the Run II, a 45-day tour by the husband-and-wife team Jay-Z and Beyonce, will kick off on June 6 in Cardiff, United Kingdom.