Thursday, June 26, 2008

Akon's con job - part 3

Either way, the felony case against Akon was dropped in its entirety in late-April 1999. He spent five months in jail before prosecutors decided not to make a grand jury presentment. The singer was immediately sprung from the DeKalb jail, departing at 1:27 on a Wednesday morning, according to county records. Somehow, in the intervening years, those few months in custody morphed into three years in prison, the majority of Akon's purported total of four-and-a-half years behind bars.

In June 1999, Akon pleaded guilty in New Jersey to a weapons possession count. In return, Burlington County prosecutors agreed to drop a second felony charge stemming from the singer's possession of an allegedly hot car. He was later fined $1000 and sentenced to three months probation, the supervision of which was immediately transferred to Georgia, where Akon resided. In opting for a probationary--and not custodial--sentence, Judge Donald P. Gaydos noted that Akon had "no history of prior delinquency or criminal activity or has led a law-abiding life for a substantial period of time before the commission of the present offense."

Gaydos also concluded that Akon would likely "respond affirmatively to probationary treatment." This was an accurate prediction on the judge's part, as Georgia officials requested, in late-2001, that the performer's supervision be terminated early since he had been a model probationer. That request was granted by a New Jersey judge on September 20, 2001.

Of course, this was during the exact period of time (1999-2002) that Akon claims he was imprisoned in Georgia for his supposed "Gone in 60 Seconds" handiwork. It was during that fabricated prison stretch, of course, that he supposedly wrote much of "Trouble," his first album. In that CD's liner notes, the acknowledgements end with this purposely vague salute: "Last but not least, thanks to the jailhouse in which I was confined--which made me a better, stronger and wiser man."

The album's autobiographical centerpiece, "Locked Up," is Akon's lament about being warehoused and forgotten in prison, where "They won't let me out/They won't let me out." He never actually served those three years, so these observations lose a bit of their authoritativeness. Additionally, a check of United States Copyright Office records reveals that when Akon's publishing company registered the song they listed its "Date of Creation" as 2003. So "Locked Up" was not even created during the three-year period in which Akon was not even in prison.

And as if there needs to be further evidence to rebut the singer's claims about being imprisoned from 1999-2002, Akon's own son Tyler could serve as Exhibit A. According to a paternity action filed late last year in Fulton County, Georgia, the boy was born on July 26, 2001, which roughly puts his date of conception in late-October 2000 (again squarely in the middle of a prison term that Akon never served). As part of the amicable paternity action, the singer was ordered to pay the boy's mother, a former Alpha Delta Pi sorority girl at Eastern Kentucky University, $2795 in monthly child support.

Curiously, Superior Court filings in the paternity case--in which both sides appear to have been represented by the same attorney--list Akon's monthly gross income as a relatively paltry $15,900, or $190,800 annually (child support payments are based, in part, on this figure).

In reality, Akon likely makes 20 or 30 times that amount monthly via record sales and touring income. His Atlanta-area real estate portfolio alone is worth about $5 million. In January, he paid $1.65 million for an 8697-square-foot McMansion on 4.96 acres adjacent to the Atlanta National Golf Club. In February 2007, Akon and "Devyne" Stephens paid $2.65 million for a 13.29 acre Fulton County estate. Photos of the two sprawling properties can be seen below.

Though it had been less than a year since the property was purchased (and despite the housing market being in distress, especially in the Atlanta area), Akon assured VH1 during a recent tour of the estate that his home was "already appraised for $25 million." Fittingly, the R&B star has dubbed his home "Dream Land."

He also told VH1 of his desire to house lions and tigers on the grounds and how he "flew in an African crocodile" that will live in a glass-enclosed chamber that can be peered into through a transparent panel on the home's ground floor. Oh, and near the indoor waterfall he is going to install a retractable stripper pole.

Which will come as no surprise to anyone who has listened to his albums. While his lilting, nasal voice and hooks are distinctive and contagious, Akon's lyrics are pedestrian and filled with standard-issue hip-hop boasts and references to strippers, bitches, girls "dropping it to the floor," and sex acts performed atop furniture. Women are said to be "looking bootylicious and jingling," and a worked-up Akon notes that he might even ask a gal if he could "bust all over your anatomy."

In "Smack That," Akon's Top Ten collaboration with Eminem, the R&B star sings of a possible romantic encounter:

Maybe go to my place and just kick it like Tae Bo
And possibly bend ya over/Look back and watch me smack that
All on the floor/Smack that
Give me some more/Smack that
Til you get sore/Smack that

Leonard Cohen he is not.

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