DJ Slice Dishes on Conman Who Duped the LA Times
By Gentle Jones
The conman who recently duped the LA Times preyed on the Hip-Hop industry as a teenager. Delaware’s DJ Slice connects the dots hidden in sealed court records.
The Los Angeles Times recently published a bombshell report which claimed that the 1994 Quad Studio shooting of Tupac Shakur was carried out by associates of Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and that Combs had prior knowledge of the nefarious plot.
At that time, Combs was one of Hip-Hop's most successful producers with his Bad Boy Records label releasing hits by Craig Mack and Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace).
The Manhattan attack sparked a widely reported East Coast - West Coast feud that eventually led to the 1996 killing of Shakur. The following year, B.I.G. was shot and killed in Los Angeles. Both murders remain unsolved.
Pulitzer Prize winning writer Chuck Phillips relied on purported FBI documents as the source of the new allegations.
Within days, the LA Times story was debunked by an article posted on thesmokinggun.com which stated that the “FBI documents” were forged by an alleged person of interest in the Times story, James Sabatino, who is currently incarcerated in a U.S. Penitentiary in Allenwood, PA for wire fraud and racketeering. He is scheduled to be released in 2012.
It was pointed out by The Smoking Gun website that the questionable documents could not be located in the FBI’s computerized Automated Case Support database, were full of spelling errors, and appeared to have been created on a typewriter which was also used to create court filings on Sabatino’s behalf. The FBI has only used computers to generate forms for the past 30 years.
James Sabatino, a career conman, alledgedly injected himself into the sensational story with forged documents he created from his jail cell to use in a $16 million dollar lawsuit designed to scam Combs.
Writer Phillips issued a front page apology last week saying, “In relying on documents that I now believe were fake, I failed to do my job. I'm sorry.” The story was later retracted by the LA Times.
The Smoking Gun website went on to conclude that Sabatino was an "accomplished document forger, an audacious swindler who has created a fantasy world in which he managed hip-hop luminaries." An FBI official told the website that Bureau investigators “had no inkling” of Sabatino's supposed role in the hip-hop industry.
Sabatino is reported by the Miami New Times to have a previous arrest in Miami in September 1993. Details of the incident are reportedly sealed. The paper also reported that more juvenile arrests followed in New Jersey and in Puerto Rico, where he was incarcerated. Those court files are sealed as well. It has been learned by this humble reporter that Sabatino was preying on the hip-hop industry during those years. One of the earliest ensnared in this conman’s web was Grammy nominated producer Anthony Walker, aka DJ Slice.
Slice, a Newark resident and Delaware native who has currently has music featured on the hit MTV show “Run’s House”, worked in Miami in the early 90’s with hit makers H-Town, 2 Live Crew, Home Team, and Poison Clan. “I was in the studio with Home Team when I first met Sabatino.” Slice says that the 1993 meeting at Miami's Stomp and Grind Studio was casual. “He said he liked my beats.”
According to Slice, in 1993, Sabatino was alledgedly passing himself off as a Sony record executive and apparently lived in a high fashion. “He had it set up like he was crazy official with beepers that had live secretary's answering the phones and taking his voice messages for him,” Slice explains, “That was uncommon at the time.” Sabatino also had a nice car and a flashy lifestyle. “Seemed like he was some kind of heavyweight in the business. Like he knew big time people.”
Initially, Slice was reluctant to associate with Sabatino, “I was a little leery of him. But he started talking about this show in Puerto Rico where I would get to open for Run DMC, Naughty by Nature, Wrecks N Effect, and some other acts.” Slice jumped at the opportunity.
Just a few weeks previous, Sabatino had alledgedly stranded a Miami group “Doz Funky Bastards” in a New Jersey hotel and stuck them with the tab for their hotel accommodations. Ernst Dimanche aka Taz was the producer of the DFB group and recalls the alledged ordeal. "We met with Jimmy Sabatino in Miami and he said he could get us a record deal. He invited us to travel to NYC to visit with a record company. He booked us a flight into Newark, NJ and also booked us a hotel room right next to the Newark airport. Once we settled into the hotel room we were quickly told to leave because Jimmy [Sabatino] had used fraudulent information to pay for everything. We didn't even get a chance to eat our pizza. We were stuck with no pocket money. I had to go to Brooklyn to a family member to ask for money to get us home." At the time, Slice was unaware of this alledged incident.
Sabatino alledgedly appeared to foot the bill for every expense for the event in Puerto Rico including airfare, hotel, and travel costs. Slice describes the trip, “He had everything covered. I had never even flown first class and here we were riding to the airport in a limo!” After the flight Slice and Sabatino spent about an hour at the airport waiting on their luggage and another limo. At the airport Slice claims that they chatted with Rev Run (Joseph Simmons) and “some people from the Source Magazine.” Slice recalls that Simmons addressed Sabatino as “Jimmy”. Slice continues, “After the people he [Sabatino] needed to see arrived, we left in the limo and rode around just about the entire island of Puerto Rico. We were riding around like stars.”
Upon arrival at the hotel Slice states that they saw Darryl McDaniels of Run DMC and Vinnie of Naughty by Nature in the elevator. “All these cats knew Sabatino on a first name basis. At that point I really felt like this guy was official.”
Darryl McDaniels of Run DMC said, "I remember the show but I don't recall meeting him [Sabatino]."
After a mere 3 hours in Puerto Rico the journey was interrupted by authorities. Slice claims that he and Sabatino were detained by hotel security, and later the police, for what turned out to be check fraud. Slice alledges, “His checks to the hotel and the limo service were false.”
Slice claims that he and Sabatino were arrested together and jailed pending a trial. During the proceedings Slice was cleared of any wrong doing. “I was just a performer appearing at this show,” he clarifies. However, the judge alledgedly released Sabatino into U.S. custody, since he was a minor at the time. This was a shock to Slice. “I asked the judge how old Sabatino really was. When the judge said 15 years old… I was standing right next to the kid in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit and I wanted break his nose.”
Upon release the first person that Slice called was his mother, Lucy Walker. "They took his money, his clothes, even his passport. They took everything and held him for a month. When he got out they gave him 25 cents and somebody else's clothes. He called me and I used my credit cards to fly him to Miami." Miss Walker still begrudges Sabatino for the allegations, "They took 30 days from my son because that boy lied. They should cut his balls off, it would slow him down. I hope they hold him past 2012."
A few weeks later, at the “How Can I Be Down?” music conference in Miami, Sabatino was unceremoniously reunited with a few recent victims. Slice notes with a chuckle, “’Doz Funky Bastards’ caught up with Sabatino and beat him down.”
Taz of DFB, who also produced Pitbull's "Rock Bottom" song featuring Bun B off of last year's hit album El Mariel, reconstructs the day. "We were at the music conference and this friend, Jason Douglas, called me up and said, 'You know that boy that got y'all stuck up north for a few weeks is here in the hotel.' So we went up to his room on the 16th floor and knocked on the door and that idiot Jimmy answered and we handled our business." Taz laughs, "I had his head doing instant replays on the window and the other guys were kicking him in the guts. We did him so bad I thought for sure we were getting arrested in the lobby on the way out. We whupped his ass."