- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Cops seek Jerry’s loo

The long, strange trip continues for Jerry Garcia’s toilet.

Police say the late Grateful Dead leader’s commode was stolen recently from a driveway along with three other toilets and a bidet, Associated Press reports. It’s not clear whether the toilet was swiped by a wayward Deadhead or a thief remodeling a bathroom. Police said they have no suspects or leads.

Mr. Garcia’s salmon-colored toilet was the subject of a legal battle before it finally was moved to Sonoma to await shipment to a Canadian casino. Henry Koltys bought Mr. Garcia’s Marin County home for $1.39 million in 1997 and removed the toilet and other items he planned to sell to raise money for a charity. After Mr. Koltys sold the house to a friend of the band, the new owner sued to block the auction. The dispute was resolved last year, and Mr. Koltys moved the items to his home in Sonoma, Calif., about 40 miles north of San Francisco.

Last month, he sold the toilet for $2,550 to online casino Goldenpalace.com, which also paid $25,000 for William Shatner’s kidney stone and $28,000 for a grilled cheese sandwich that reportedly had the image of the Virgin Mary on it, Mr. Koltys said. The casino planned to use the toilet as part of a traveling marketing exhibit and is offering a $5,000 reward for its return.

Knight moves

Rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight is seeking federal bankruptcy protection for himself and his Death Row Records, his lawyer said yesterday.

At issue is an unpaid judgment against Knight for $107 million that was awarded to Lydia Harris, a former Knight associate who claimed she helped start the rap record empire with her former husband, Michael Harris, Associated Press reports.

Laurence Strick, who represents Knight, said his client was attempting to reorganize his financial affairs.

“Mr. Knight doesn’t have $107 million,” Mr. Strick said. “It remains to be seen what becomes of Death Row.”

Death Row’s stable of artists in the 1990s included popular West Coast stars such as Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur. Knight failed to appear at a Superior Court-ordered debtor hearing Saturday, triggering legal actions that a judge had warned would place his Death Row Records in receivership. Filing for federal bankruptcy protection would supersede receivership proceedings, Mr. Strick said.

Michael Harris, an imprisoned drug dealer serving a 28-year sentence at San Quentin State Prison, is claiming half of the $107 million as community property in his divorce from Lydia Harris. Michael Harris also claims he put up $1.5 million from behind bars to help start the record label, a contention that Knight has denied repeatedly.

Lawyers suing Knight had planned to ask that he be held in contempt and jailed until he participates in a debtor hearing that requires him to disclose all of his assets.

Knight — who served five years starting in 1996 for assaulting a man in a Las Vegas hotel just hours before Mr. Shakur was gunned down — has failed to attend a number of hearings in the case.

Missed the bell

In the day’s other news about music moguls, Sean “Diddy” Combs stood up his own brand Monday when he missed the opening bell for the New York Stock Exchange.

According to the New York Post, Mr. Combs was supposed to stand alongside Federated Department Stores Chairman Terry Lundgren and Estee Lauder CEO William Lauder as well as Estee Lauder brand President John Demsey when the group rang the bell in honor of Unforgivable, Mr. Combs’ new fragrance — but he was a no-show. “He overslept,” an unnamed source told the newspaper. “You know Puff (Mr. Combs’ former nickname) — he’d be late to his own funeral.” Mr. Combs’ people, however, blamed his absence on traffic.

Out of sight

Quincy Jones visited former South African President Nelson Mandela, but a meeting between Mr. Mandela and Naomi Campbell wasn’t publicized, Associated Press reports.

The supermodel, 35, was charged with assault in New York City last week for reportedly throwing her cell phone at a housekeeper.

Miss Campbell wasn’t an official guest of UNICEF, spokeswoman Erika Vegter said Monday, but the agency knew of her visit. The Nelson Mandela Foundation declined comment.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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