Fast Cars and Rap Stars: How a Sugar Daddy's Empire Crumbled on Everyone Involved

One of the hottest Valley party spots in the mid-2000s was Scottsdale's CBNC, short for Coyote Bay Night Club. Hip-hop stars and professional athletes flocked there. Rap artist and music producer Kasseem Dean (a.k.a. Swizz Beatz) was a regular and claimed he was one of the owners.

Tucked in the Papago Plaza strip mall, on the southwest corner of McDowell and Scottsdale roads, the place exuded upscale cool.

On Friday and Saturday nights, a good-looking crowd of young people packed the three bars and dance floor, the latter lit up from beneath with multicolored LEDs.

Jamie Peachy
A police flowchart shows the alleged “criminal enterprise.” Almost all charges later were dropped.
Ray Stern
A police flowchart shows the alleged “criminal enterprise.” Almost all charges later were dropped.

CBNC had two VIP rooms cordoned off with velvet ropes. Dress code: classy. No baggy jeans or do-rags. Security was tight, with a plethora of off-duty Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputies. The general managers looked like bouncers, a hard-to-miss pair of burly twin brothers named Jesse and James.

On just one of the many star-studded nights, Busta Rhymes and newly minted rap star 50 Cent hit "da club" in July 2003 after finishing a performance in Phoenix.

50 Cent, who famously had been shot before rising to stardom, felt comfortable enough to take off his bulletproof vest and dance on top of a bar counter.

On other nights, partygoers could see Eminem. Or Snoop Dogg. Or former Phoenix Suns star Amar'e Stoudemire. Or maybe Mike Tyson, NBA baller Allen Iverson, Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, rapper/actor LL Cool J, or pop stars Alicia Keys, Britney Spears, and Beyoncé.

Despite what Swizz Beatz claimed, the owner of the club, on paper, was Jodi Upton.

She's the sister of the twins who served as managers and — like them — is tall and blond.

Meet some of the key players in a twisted tale of money, drugs, fast cars and rap stars.

Corporate records and the club's liquor license listed Upton, then in her late 20s, as owner not only of CBNC but of Scottsdale's successful Exotic Auto Sales and Leasing dealership. The car dealership touted a long list of celebrity clients, many of whom also went to the club.

The early 2000s were amazing times for Upton. She mixed with wealthy superstars and athletes, sold Ferraris and Lambor-ghinis, attended posh parties, and flew in private jets.

She was hardworking and business-savvy — but the businesses weren't really hers.

The real boss of CBNC was her boyfriend, Nazreth Derboghossian, a Syrian-born Armenian who went by "Naz."

About 15 years older than Upton, Naz had a background in the exotic-car business and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. The couple met in 1999 when she got a receptionist job at a Scottsdale car company where Naz worked. Soon after their affair began, he was paying for Upton's apartment.

Only a few months earlier, in her home state of Massachusetts, Upton had been struggling in a violent relationship with her boyfriend, the father of her first son. And she'd been plagued by accusations against her father, George, owner of a used-car lot and a notorious criminal on Cape Cod.

By the end of 2000, she and Naz had moved into a $2 million home in Scottsdale's Troon North community. She gave birth to their son in early 2003, with Swizz Beatz signing on as the boy's godfather.

Naz showered his girlfriend with gifts and travel. He bought her a diamond bracelet for her 24th birthday, funded extravagant shopping trips. In their home, he kept stacks of cash in a safe. The couple always were off to Las Vegas — Hard Rock Café was their hangout. At the blackjack table, Naz would slide $5,000 chips to Upton and toss large tips to service workers.

To help pull in the VIPs and their entourages at the club, Naz's attitude often was: Don't worry. It's on the house.

In 2004, Upton — with Naz behind the scenes — bought Scorch Bar in Desert Ridge Marketplace.

As fun as CBNC and Scorch were for their clientele, the clubs were major money-losers. Though plenty of cash was coming in, it never seemed to be enough to pay the bills.

Both businesses had to be supported financially by Exotic Auto, which itself was propped up by millions of dollars flowing in — from Mexico.

Fact was, Naz had a sugar daddy of his own who bankrolled everything.

He was Mario de la Fuente Manriquez, a prominent figure in the Sonora, Mexico, business community who split his time among homes in Tucson, Scottsdale, and Nogales, Mexico.

Manriquez had earned a fortune in the communications business in Mexico, and from 2000 to at least 2008, he blew a good deal of it on Naz, whom he reportedly loved like a son. He had bought the Troon home for Naz and agreed to "loan" him millions of dollars with no real expectation of getting paid back.

That is, the fast times at CBNC, the sales of high-priced cars, the extravagant lifestyles led by Naz and those close to him — they all had one thing in common:

Mario's money.


The party stopped on January 20, 2010.

That was the day an armored car smashed through the gate at one of Manriquez's north Tucson homes, where his ex-wife and four kids lived. Authorities took them into custody temporarily. The millionaire and his current wife were held at gunpoint in another home by Tucson police officers, who then proceeded to blow the doors off several of his safes to seize his cash.

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37 comments
pushkush
pushkush

Do your thing girl. I'm kind of envious of your adventure through this life, let em hate, stay up.

Mary
Mary

Interesting how the editor picks and chosses the comments and wants to keep or delete.. Enough said! 

Jodi
Jodi

I did not at anytime receive any money for this article... Really... it's comical how you people think... 

Bob
Bob

hmmm

someone who knows
someone who knows

.She then bought a house in Phoenix with money she had earned from the sale of a classic 1933 Ford her father had given her?? Im sure that was stolen too.. lol Are you Serious Ray?? YOUR SOURCE (JODI) IS NOT VERY CREDIBLE HERE.. I WOULD BE ASHAMED TO WRITE SUCH AN ARTICLE KNOWING THE PAST SHE AND HER FAMILY HAD.. NAZ DOESNT HAVE A PAST LIKE THAT!

someone who knows
someone who knows

JODI PROBABLY SLEPT WITH THE RAY TO GET HER LIES ON HERE.. WOULDNT SURPRISE ME..

someone who knows
someone who knows

again dumb fuck.. ol salty.. NAZ OBVIOUSLY DIDNT HAVE A CRIME IN MIAMI.. GET YOUR STORY RIGHT! DAMN YOU ARE WORST THAN RAY STERN WITH YOUR LIES!!

someone who knows
someone who knows

Hey dumb ass ol salty.. get your facts staright.. naz and Ara have been LEGALLY IN THE STATES FOR 45 EFFING YES YOU MORAN!! Dont you think if they were illeagal they would have been deported by now? Maybe they need to start deporting dumb asses like yourself that think they know it all!! bahahahahahaha...

mary
mary

hey mason.. you dnt know me so go eff yourself! Better yet.. go eff jodi.. lmfao!!

whocares3
whocares3

Well stay on it unochit!!!!!

fuku
fuku

Hahahahaha. Yet another joke

unochit
unochit

i'm on therapy because of this

mason
mason

marry you remind me of jodi...LMAO

fuk0
fuk0

Hahahahaha. U made a joke

Djpbone
Djpbone

It wasn't fun for my friend who got swindled along with the Boyce's and others. Trust that.

Lenni Rosenblum
Lenni Rosenblum

Another thrilling story by Ray Stern. Well done, Ray!

unochit
unochit

JODi. YOUR. JOKE!!!!! AND a WHORE oh and lets not forget A GOLD DIGGER and a FUCKED up MOTHER!!!!)!

raysternsajoke
raysternsajoke

honestly i thought this spread was about a man .. rupaul looking mofucker.. someone get this bitch off the cover!!!!!!!!! dam!

rapster
rapster

Ray Stern, you said her hubby, that is short for husband, is it not? Didn't you write , when "her child was 2 she decided to leave her hubby" You also wrote she was a victim, she obviously did not tell you all of the story, she sold part of her bar to young man for 100,000, got the money,and then kicked him out of the business and walked away from it and sold it again, for 1.00 and all of the hundreds of thousand of dollars of debt, she did not let it go for a fake kidney surgury, you should of talked to the young man that gave her that money. How do you sell a business, recieve the cash, and not own it? She ripped him off, and he had no recourse, and tried to get his money back, to no avail. You should have done your homework, instead of letting her scam you, like she has everyone else.

Ray Stern
Ray Stern

The article never said she was married, Rapster.

brody
brody

the middle eastern men are dirty

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

A fantasy that rich people don't always spend their money according to capitalist wetdreams? or that Stern couldn't be bothered to have learned in HIGH SCHOOL that in 1955, Armenia was a Soviet Republic and folks were getting free passes to be taken in as political refugees for pretty much any reason from those countries - especially if they provided a debriefing to the CIA when they arrived here? I would have liked to see if there were any criminal records of Naz' family in Armenia.

Curious
Curious

Your so right Tomato, but this reporter, did not do his homework at all, she lied about so many things, she never had a husband, that's public record, did he check out any of her story at all, or just write . To let her hurt so many people in this story without checking it out, is terrible,

rapster
rapster

This is a joke, I have known this woman, and a long time.Shame on the New Times not checking out all of her lies. She was NEVER been married in her life, the story talks about her violent husband, they were crack addicts, and he died in a car wreck, she then moved here and lived in her car. She is a money hungry bitter bitch. She has not seen her 10 year old child since the day school let out. She left him with his father for the whole summer as she always does, yet she talks about him that way, seriously if that were true, would you leave him there, and never even see him until school starts? She has stolen, lied, and embezeled for years, she went to the state and told all these lies with the other creep Doug, about Mario and Naz, thinking she would get something, she got nothing but arrested. While she was in jail she let her children sleep in a garage on a mattress with another crack head friend, instead of with their grandmother. She is evil, and whoever took the pictures did a great job of touch up, as she on a daily basis looks like an ugly transvestite, seriously! I hope Mario, all the stars, and everyone else she lied about sue the paper, and she ends up back in jail, it is inevitable, she is just like her criminal father. She never needed a kidney operation, that was a scam to get 49,000, and she got it, and said it went away, because she ate raw food, what a disgrace, She even admits in the article her old boyfriend when she was young bought her boobs, but she doesn't give his name, as she is afraid, because he was a drug dealer, hopefully the next one she scams, is for mental help, she surely needs it. Shame on her, and shame n the New Times!

cal0
cal0

You have no idea wat ur talking about number 1 number 2 Upton stoled from Naz and his family and doing this spread shows u wats she's all about MONEY!

Curious
Curious

who is this bitch trying to look like and portray herself to be? Marilyn Monroe.. pathetic. sounds like to me somebody got a little mad over rejection and needs some money huh?! I just dont understand how someone involved in such a "case" is now writing some story to gain attention.. or maybe not get in trouble so shes whipping up a storm about other people?! This whole article sounds like some destitute woman trying to either not get in trouble for some crime she did , or just get attention and money.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Interesting story. I kept asking myself where the dirty money was coming from..... It appears Ms. Upton has learned well from her father, however. Seems the apple didn't fall far from the tree in this case.

 
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