James & Jackson Involved In Lawsuit Over Black Family Channel
February 12, 2007 at 11:38 AM (PT)
JAMES & JACKSON LLC, a management group comprised of broadcaster ALVIN JAMES, MARLON JACKSON of the JACKSON FIVE, businessman MATTHEW HARDEN, and attorney GREGORY THORPE, are the founders of the BLACK FAMILY CHANNEL, and they have filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against their partners in the BLACK FAMILY CHANNEL, which include prominent attorney WILLIE GARY, boxer EVANDER HOLYFIELD and former baseball player CECIL FIELDER. The BLACK FAMILY CHANNEL is a cable television channel that airs in all 50 states and claims to be AMERICA’s only African American-owned and -operated, 24-hour channel devoted to wholesome “family values.”
According to THE CHICAGO DEFENDER, GARY and his partners overstepped their boundaries by creating a shell corporation, PROGRAMMING ACQUISITIONS LLC, solely for the purpose of merging the two and subsequently “squeezing” J&J out of their non-dilutable 20% interest, valued at $200 million and reducing their payout to $1.
The original goal of the founders was to provide a family values network for the African-American community. They brought in financing partners, and they saw it was a great opportunity to bring the programming nationwide and offer that type of alternative broadcasting to the community, according to BILL BREWER, who is the lead attorney representing J&J.
WILLIE GARY signed on as a financial player for the network after it was formed in 1998. The deal called for GARY to acquire 51% ownership of the network in exchange for an immediate cash payment of $2 million. When HOLYFIELD and FIELDER came aboard, they agreed to contribute their promotional efforts. After the addition, GARY’s interest was recalculated to 75%, leaving the 25% ownership balance to J&J.
After a year passed, the network needed additional funding, according to the suit. GARY agreed to assume full responsibility for getting the funds in exchange for an additional 5% ownership of the network. J&J are seeking damages that include dissolution of the merger, punitive damages and other “relief” the court may deem appropriate.