No Sanctuary For Urban Coalition

Sanctuary Music Group’s ongoing restructuring is having an effect on its U.S. operations with the news that three of its top agents from Mathew Knowles’ Music World/Urban division have been terminated “for cause.”

In addition, senior VP Max Gousse has left Music World / Sanctuary Urban Management to launch a Universal-distributed label in January.

Troy Carter, Tony Davis and Julius (Jay) Erving III got their pink slips November 11th, but managed to hit the ground running with a new company, The Coalition, within a week and had a slate of projects already lined up, according to trade paper Variety.

The departure of the trio leaves open the question of what will become of Sanctuary’s urban division, particularly in the wake of the retirement of Destiny’s Child. The three agents took a stable of clients with them, including Nelly, Eve, Fat Joe, Floetry, Kelis, and Lil’ Wayne.

Tongues immediately began wagging that Knowles would be shown the same door as his former agents, but he appeared to still be in control of his decimated division at press time.

With the dismissal of Carter, Davis and Erving, Sanctuary wasted no time in issuing a statement that did little to clarify the situation.

“Terminating someone for cause is never easy,” the statement, obtained by Pollstar from Sanctuary attorney Howard Weitzman, said. “Any guess that these decisions were based on reasons other than pure business considerations are untrue.

“Based on the facts, Sanctuary took appropriate steps regarding all three individuals. I am surprised that three business days after they were terminated, they were in a position to announce the opening of a new company unless it was something they had been planning for a period of time.”

The Coalition will specialize in talent management, film and television production, and urban lifestyle marketing, according to Variety. It also reportedly has several TV projects in production including “Eve” on UPN; an untitled Fat Joe pilot at Fox Television Studios; “Married to the Game,” a reality show based on the world of NBA wives, also at Fox; and a reality show proposal based on the business ventures of Nelly.

Since their dismissals, Carter, Davis and Erving have retained the services of attorney Larry Stein and it would seem a lawsuit is inevitable. The agents were 14 months into a five-year deal when they were axed.

“This seems like an inexpensive way for Sanctuary to get out of its contract,” Carter told Variety.