MANHATTAN (CN) — About one month into a federal prison term, an Insta-famous sneaker outfitter who partnered with the rapper Fat Joe brought a federal complaint Monday to demand his share of their business profits.
Though still in high school, Spina was operating a sneaker business at the time called Scotty Kicks that had been embraced by professional athletes and other celebrities. Within a few weeks, according to the complaint, Fat Joe and Spina became partners in a high-end sneaker and clothing store in New York City.
Spina notes that he had about 60,000 Instagram followers to his name at the time but otherwise very little in the way of investment assets.
As part of a 50-50 partnership, according to the complaint, Fat Joe was responsible for providing all capital to fund the venture while Spina was “responsible for securing the location, building the store, preparing for the opening, managing the store’s social medical (sic) profile and managing the day-to-day operations of the store.”
Spina says it was after he obtained the lease for a retail space on Broadway and West 158th Street that Fat Joe instructed him “to put up all the capital to get the business up and running.”
Fat Joe, whose real name is Joseph Cartagena, “indicated he did not have the money because he was settling IRS debts,” the complaint states.
Spina says Fat Joe also agreed at this point to change their ownership split to 75-25 in Spina’s favor since “he, plaintiff, was (sic) only one putting up the capital and doing all the necessary work to get the business up and running.”
Noting that he wound up getting three promissory notes for a total of $325,000, Spina blames Fat Joe’s actions for causing him to default on all of the loans.
Spina allegedly never drew a salary but used the company credit card to pay some of his personal expenses.
He says Fat Joe froze him out from the business completely in November 2016, about 20 days after the grand opening of the store, All the Way Up aka King of Kicks.
Fat Joe meanwhile has diverted the business’s profits to a new entity called Up NYC LLC, according to the complaint.
This past April, Spina pleaded guilty in New Jersey to wire fraud and he was sentenced on July 23 to a 35-month prison sentence. Prosecutors accused Spina of using credit card details from his celebrity clients to obtain more than $550,000 in cash or goods.
Spina’s complaint makes no mention of these details but does say an employee whom Fat Joe hired for the store opening was charged this past February with robbing Spina.
Spina’s attorney Ronald Ricci has not responded to an email seeking comment.
No representative at Up NYC answered a phone call seeking comment on the complaint. The Daily News reported that representatives for Fat Joe also did not respond to a request for comment, but that the rapper celebrated his 48th birthday over the weekend at Jay Z’s 40/40 Club.
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