DECONSTRUCTED: It’s a hard knock life

Rapper Jay-Z’s real estate experiment results in a lawsuit against the lender, Highland Capital. PERE March 2010 issue

He is one of the most successful hip hop artists of his generation, has his own fashion line, owns the professional basketball team the New Jersey Nets and is married to Beyonce Knowles. One thing Jay-Z isn’t though is a real estate pro.

The rapper has reportedly launched a lawsuit against Dallas-based investment firm Highland Capital Management, after plans for his “J Hotel” in New York took a nose dive. Highland loaned Jay Z – real name Shawn Carter, whose hits include “Hard Knock Life”, “99 Problems” and “Money Ain’t a Thang” – and his partners $52 million to develop the property in Manhattan’s Chelsea district, according to a Bloomberg report.

However, in a complaint filed in federal court in New York, Jay-Z alleged Highland and NexBank SSB attempted to “bleed” money from the singer and declined to clear him of his obligations after receiving the property in a deed in lieu foreclosure. Jay-Z is suing for $3.7 million in damages.

Dismissing the claim as “meritless,” Highland said it would “vigorously defend itself and intends to pursue the obligations owed to Highland’s investors”. Jay-Z may have 99 problems, and the hotel is definitely one of them.