As rap-star behavior goes, what Terius Gray and his main men supposedly did is mild stuff, one must admit. But it's plenty serious to one Middle Tennessee small business.
Gray, the rapper known as "Juvenile" who is best known for the 1999 smash hit "Back That Azz Up," is among the defendants in a lawsuit, a copy of which is available at this link, filed last week in Davidson County Circuit Court.
Ziggy's Custom Coaches, a tour-bus company based in Springfield, claims the performer and his associates leased the bus last January in the name of a non-existent Louisiana corporation. In June, just six months into a three-year lease, the bus was "surrendered" to Ziggy's, the complaint says.
Dale 'Ziggy' Seigfreid, proprietor of the bus firm, is a veteran country sideman who spent ten years as a guitar player for "outlaw" star David Allan Coe. So it's a fair guess this was not the first abused tour bus he has seen, but the filing describes a vehicle in sorry shape:
"The bus was trashed, evidencing splashes from a liquid that stained, curtains that were torn off of their rods, trash everywhere, burn holes were in the upholstery, and the rear cooler counter-top was broken."
Repairing the bus has cost more than $2,000, but the damages that the company claims regarding the remainder of the lease period involve potentially a much larger amount. The lease spells out a rate of $750 for each day that the bus, with its driver furnished by Ziggy's, was in operation. The plaintiff is seeking to recoup "all of the remaining periodic payments under the lease" at present value plus 10 percent interest, as well as the repair costs and legal fees.
Named in the lawsuit along with Gray are James Andre Smith (also known as James Prince or J. Prince), CEO of Houston-based Rap-A-Lot Records, and Aubrey Francis, who has been listed as executive producer of one of Juvenile's albums. The complaint, filed by Nashville lawyers Karl Warden and Phillip Perez, says the location of Francis is currently unknown.
Gray is from New Orleans, but the lawsuit says he lives in Nashville now.
NashvillePost.com provided a copy of the filing yesterday to Houston entertainment attorney Warren "Chappie" Fitzgerald, who represents Rap-A-Lot Records. He has not responded with any comment, and no other defendants can be reached at this time.