Right before hedge-fund manager and “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli was arrested on cases of fraud, he considered destroying his $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album. The former businessman had previously purchased the record, of which Wu-Tang made only one copy, to the frustration of hip-hop fans and music lovers already angered by Shkreli’s action in the pharmaceutical world. “I’m not just the heel of the music world,” Shkreli once told VICE, “I want to be the world’s heel.”
However, he not only didn’t destroy the record, but had to legally forfeit it as part of $7.4 million in assets by rule of a federal judge. Shkreli was also sentenced to seven years on securities fraud. His lawyers have stated, as Pitchfork reports, that they plan to appeal the forfeiture order, but until then the Wu-Tang record Once Upon A Time in Shaolin remains in the hands of the U.S. Government.
According to XXL, this still doesn’t mean that we’ll be able to hear the record anytime soon. The album being in the hands of the Department of Justice presents new problems, as what happens to the LP is now up to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a very controversial figure in Trump’s cabinet and one of the only original members left. The Department of Justice’s filing reads: “The United States hereby gives notice of its intent to dispose of the forfeited property in such manner as the United States Attorney General may direct.” Nonetheless, all of this new information only stands if Shkreli’s forfeiture appeal doesn’t stand.
Furthermore, RZA and Cilvaringz’s attorney Peter Scoolidge clarified that “the contract the album was sold under requires Mr. Shkreli to bind any new taker of the album to all of the same terms it was sold under,” referring to the contract clause that states that the record can’t be sold for another eighty-eight years. If Sessions’ decision or Shkreli’s appeal goes through, Scoolidge remarked that “if and when that happens, my client could file papers in the forfeiture proceeding to enforce the restrictions on use of the album.” What’s even more interesting is that Shkreli also apparently most forfeit a Picasso painting and a copy of Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V, an album Wayne has been fighting with his label to release for years.
Photo Credit: Marv Watson