Dre Settles Accounting Suit; Still Waiting For Detroit's Apology

Lawsuit claimed firm's crooked bookkeeping cost rapper tens of millions.

Dr. Dre has settled his suit against accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, in which the superstar producer/rapper claimed the company had cost him tens of millions during his time at Death Row Records.

Dre's camp contends that while he was busy producing some of the biggest hip-hop records of the '90s, his accountants allowed others to loot money from his accounts and then participated in diverting those funds to other PWC clients. The suit accused PricewaterhouseCoopers of fraud and breach of contract of fiduciary duty.

A confidentiality agreement forbids either side from revealing details of the settlement, but a source said the firm paid Dre around $15 million to settle the case, which was scheduled to go to trial April 30.

Steve Silber, spokesperson for PricewaterhouseCoopers, said the suit was settled "in a manner that was satisfactory to both sides."

The suit was filed in 1997, but proceedings were slowed because the partner in charge of Dre's account, Steve Cantrock, refused to testify in the case, according to Dre's lawyer, Howard King.

Marion "Suge" Knight — who co-founded Death Row with Dre and still heads the label — and Death Row's lawyer, David Kenner, took the Fifth as well.

A companion case brought by Snoop Dogg against the firm was settled last year.

The resolution of the PricewaterhouseCoopers case doesn't alleviate all of Dre's legal battles. His suit against Napster is still pending, as is his $25 million suit against the city of Detroit, alleging that city officials violated the First Amendment rights of performers on the Up in Smoke tour when it stopped there last summer.

Dre claims police blocked him from showing videos at a July 6 stop at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena because the clips featured topless women and gunfights (see "Dr. Dre Fumes, Threatens Lawsuit Over Video Flap"). A spokesperson for the Detroit mayor's office has claimed the rapper voluntarily pulled the videos after police told tour staff that they would be ticketed if the clips were shown.

King said he is "pretty confident" that they will be able to settle the case, saying that the two sides have had discussions about the city apologizing for the incident as well as making a charitable donation or requiring sensitivity training for police officers.

"Dre's not in this to get money for himself," King said, adding that an apology would be essential to reaching a settlement but not enough on its own.

Calls to Greg Bowens, spokesperson for the Detroit mayor's office, were not returned by press time.