In the latest tug of war for control of The Source Entertainment Inc., founder David Mays and the longtime president, rapper Ray "Benzino" Scott were ordered out of their jobs by the newly constituted board of directors after a temporary restraining order blocking the move was lifted.
Four of the six board members voted to fire the duo last week and instead install Jeremy Miller, a one-time chief operating officer, as the new chief executive of The Source.
Scott and Mays had gone to court last week to obtain a temporary restraining order in New Jersey, where they reside, to block the axing while they prepared a lawsuit against the new board.
Yesterday, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Gerald Escala lifted the temporary restraining order, effectively clearing the way for the firings.
The Source was once known as the hip-hop bible, but in more recent years has seen its ad pages and circulation tumble.
Last month, it dropped out of the Publishers Information Bureau, which tracks ad page tallies for major consumer magazines.
Mays and Scott remain defiant and are still pursuing another action in New Jersey, claiming the new board illegally seized control of the company.
The attorney for Mays and Scott, David Finkler, did not return a call from The Post yesterday, but earlier said that his clients feel the new board is not valid.
The genesis of the new board goes back about four years ago, when Black Enterprise Greenwich Street Corporate Growth Partners, a private-equity firm controlled by the Graves family, made a $12 million investment in The Source.
When The Source ran into a cash squeeze, the Graves family introduced them to Providence, R.I.-based Textron Financial Corp., which loaned the magazine $18 million.
Textron in October claimed that The Source had defaulted on its loan and sought to have the New York State Supreme Court appoint a receiver to supervise the company, but in late December the bid was rejected.
A State Supreme Court judge ruled that despite Textron's eight-figure exposure and a litany of mismanagement complaints at the magazine, the lender had no more rights than other creditors.
Yesterday on the Web site allhiphop.com, Mays said he had fired Dasun Allah as editor-in-chief and instead installed himself in the top editorial spot.
Allah, who also goes by the name David Blanks, was indicted on charges of spray painting a Jehovah Witness church in Harlem in November and is due back in Manhattan Criminal Court on Feb. 9.
Mays said on the Web site, "Right now I am taking the role of editor-in-chief. There were just other issues that caused this to happen in this particular way."
He did not return calls from The Post. Miller, the newly installed CEO, could not be reached for comment.
The new board includes Earl "Butch" Graves Jr., the CEO of Black Enterprise, plus three others: Ivan Hopkins, Jeffrey Scott and Ed Williams, who are part of the investment firm. Charles Simpson, an attorney representing the board, said of Mays latest claim, "He's terminated, so he is not going to be doing anything."
As of late yesterday, despite the board action, Mays remained in the company's new office at 11 Broadway.
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