A Bronx clothing designer claiming Jay Z owes him $7 million for the Roc-A-Fella Records logo is crying foul that the hip-hop mogul has conveniently found a man claiming to be the real designer of the symbol — who doesn’t want cash for his creation.
Dwayne Walker sued Jay Z in 2012 for $7 million in Manhattan Federal Court, alleging that he had been screwed out of royalties for the design he made in 1995.
In April, Jay Z’s attorney, Cynthia Arato, deposed Adrien Vargas, a designer who claimed he was the designer who created the Roc-A-Fella logo, filings indicate.
But Vargas said he believed he was not entitled to royalties from the design — essentially an image of a vinyl record and the letter ‘R.’
“(The logo is) in the possession of the person who commissioned the work,” Vargas said, according to documents. “They own the rights. You hand that over when you hand over the work.”
But Vargas then added he never signed any documents regarding the work — meaning he could potentially have a claim on the design.
The seeming contradiction didn’t sit well with Walker’s attorney, Greg Berry, who suspected Vargas was getting bad advice from Jay Z’s attorney.
“According to Vargas’ current testimony, he created the logo himself and never signed any agreements regarding transferring or licensing the property rights in the logo,” Berry wrote this week, seeking to bar Jay Z’s lawyers from advising Vargas due to a conflict of interest. “If Vargas’ testimony were true (it is not), then he would own the rights to the logo.”
It’s the latest testy exchange between Berry and Arato. The two have traded barbs for months.
“Ms. Arato uses an amazingly revealing word to describe me: ‘contumacious.’ I had to look it up. It means ‘stubbornly or willfully disobedient to authority,’ Berry wrote this week to Judge Ronald Ellis.
“The ‘authority’ she means, your honor, is her, not this court.”
Jay Z has said he does not remember ever meeting Walker.