By New Times
By Derek Askey
By Mark Deming
By Serene Dominic
By Jason Keil
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
As if he's not in enough trouble already, now Suge Knight's got American Express in his face. American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., claims that Knight, his lawyer, David Kenner, Kenner's wife, Erica, and Knight's Death Row Records owe the credit-card company upward of $1,574,000--and AmEx isn't gonna hold anyone at gunpoint to get it. It's gonna do it the old-fashioned way: American Express has filed suit against Knight, the Kenners and Death Row in L.A. Superior Court seeking payment in full--plus court costs, attorneys' fees and prejudgment interest.
But what's a few mil between friends?
In addition to detailing the rather free-spending habits of Knight and the Death Row posse, the court documents filed by American Express also provide a rather interesting road map of the last hours of Tupac Shakur. From limos to hotel rooms, private planes to phone calls in the sky--life on Death Row seems pretty damned good.
Death Row credit-card expenditures, from June to September 1996, totaled a formidable $1,574,991.82! Hope H&R Block considers getting the Death Row posse to Vegas a business expense: Kenner had to charter several private jets on September 4 and 17 (there's a $42,279.86 charge from Jetwest International). And don't bring the tanks back empty--those jet refuel charges are murder ($23,041.88 from Spirit Aviation)!
For those who have a fear of flying, a mighty convoy of limousines was charged to CLS Transportation on September 12 and 13 (total: $160,000).
But try using CLS' standard daily rate schedule of $95 per hour for the super stretch limo--the biggest, nicest car--plus driver lodging, per diem, a 20 percent gratuity and per-mile charges ($1.95) to come up with a total anywhere near $160K.
And apparently, even though Kenner chartered planes and a battalion of limos, he still needed lots of airplane tickets. On September 10, Kenner charged $122,303.44 to Bel Aire Travel Inc.'s in-house merchant account, and on September 19, a charge of $108,294.95. AmEx records show Bel Aire Travel to be located in Los Angeles. Both transactions use the same reference code; no airline, passenger names, destination, cruise, hotel name, or any other pertinent itinerary information is specified to American Express. Bel Aire Travel is not listed in directory assistance for Los Angeles County.
Knight also booked 27 separate rooms at the Luxor Hotel at $50 per ($1,584.21) and bought perhaps some fancy cigars ($666.45 spent on "tobacco/accessories" at the Tinder Box in Vegas), and on September 12 paid CLS limousines an additional $50,000. The final "unknown" charge was made on September 21: $2,738.82 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Top it all off with a delinquency charge of $25,787.43.
Unfortunately for AmEx, with the FBI, DEA, ATF and IRS scrutinizing Death Row and Knight's Club 662 in Las Vegas under the RICO statutes, the credit-card company may have to get in line for a piece of the action.--Rhoda Penmark