The Firms

December 16, 2008 4:30 PM

Blank Rome Sues Mos Def for $60,000 in Unpaid Legal Bills

Posted by Brian Baxter

Blank Rome is suing rapper/actor/activist Mos Def for over $60,000 in unpaid legal bills stemming from his 2006 divorce from Maria Yepes.

The couple ended their 10-year marriage that year in a Brooklyn court, with Judge Sarah Krauss pleading with them to settle their differences outside her courtroom.

Reports say that the Brooklyn-born Mos Def (real name: Dante Smith) owes the money to Blank Rome in the form of unpaid fees and retainers. The Emmy, Golden Globe, and Grammy award–nominated entertainer retained lawyers from the firm's well-regarded matrimonial practice, which advises high-end clients on divorce, mediation, property distribution, paternity, visitation rights, and trusts and estates.

The 500-lawyer Philadelphia firm, which had gross revenues of $314.5 million in 2007, is one of the few Am Law 100 firms to have a dedicated matrimonial practice group. The firm has handled divorce proceedings for clients like Donald Trump in his separations from Ivana Trump and Marla Maples, shock jock Howard Stern, TV news personality Geraldo Rivera, and stock broker Al Reynolds (ex-husband of Star Jones).

A phone call to the New York office of Norman Heller, who heads Blank Rome's matrimonial group, was not returned by the time this story was published. A firm spokesman also did not respond to a request for comment. (At the time of this post, The Am Law Daily was still working on trying to obtain a copy of  the civil complaint filed by Blank Rome in Kings County Supreme Court in Brooklyn without having to trudge across the East River.)

Mos Def's marital endeavors in recent years haven't ended well. The same year he divorced Yepes, the musician wed former Toronto stripper Alana Wyatt, whom he'd known for only three days. After those nuptials ended with Mos Def allegedly denying Wyatt a divorce, she wrote about her ill-fated marriage to the triple threat in a book published in April.

But his marital woes and dispute with Blank Rome aren't Mos Def's only legal problems. The rapper was involved in an August incident in Las Vegas in which a fashion photographer claimed Mos Def tore a camera off his neck, smashed it to the ground, and then took off with it during a confrontation.

An arrest warrant was issued for the artist by Las Vegas police in November. Police say they expect Mos Def, who faces charges of felony robbery and malicious destruction of private property, to turn himself in.

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Maybe Mr. Def simply plans on running up a tab with the firm, for all sorts of future divorces? The way he's running through wives now certainly makes that seem like a possibility. To each their own I guess...

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