Per a Department of Justice filing, which came out on Wednesday, the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York has ordered former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli to give up the Wu-Tang record, as well as $5 million from a brokerage account, a share in Vyera Pharmaceuticals, a Picasso painting, and his copy of Lil Wayne’s highly anticipated and highly delayed album Tha Carter V. Altogether, the items total in $7,360,450, per Forbes.
“The United States hereby gives notice of its intent to dispose of the forfeited property in such manner as the United States Attorney General may direct,” the filing read.
Shkreli bought the only copy of Once Upon A Time In Shaolin in December 2015, to the tune of $2 million. However, he was sentenced to seven years in prison earlier in March for securities fraud, and the judge ruled that some of Shkreli's assets must be sold in order to pay the victims of his fraud.
However, now the question is the legitimacy of the DOJ taking the album; Once Upon A Time is still partially owned by Cilvaringz and RZA, both of whom produced it. They own 50 percent of the master recording, and, in their contract with Shkreli, designated that the buyer couldn’t sell the album until 88 years after the initial purchase. During that period, the album was only intended for the buyer’s personal use, which the two producers hoped would push the music to acquire the same status as fine art.
“The contract the album was sold under requires Mr. Shkreli to bind any new taker of the album to all of the same terms it was sold under,” Cilvaringz attorney, Peter Scoolidge said. While he isn’t aware that the album has been seized, he added, “If and when that happens, my client could file papers in the forfeiture proceeding to enforce the restrictions on use of the album.”
Shkreli could also register an appeal, which would postpone the DOJ’s filing.
Even if the government manages to legally sell Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, the album is likely not worth the same price Shkreli paid. The former pharma head—who’s a huge Donald Trump fan—pledged to leak the album if Trump became president. Shkreli kept his word and live-streamed a handful of songs in November 2016. Later, he tried to sell it on eBay, but the bids barely surpassed $1 million, and went to jail before he could strike a deal.
As head of the DOJ, Sessions is still being held accountable for the fate of the album.