Martin Shkreli may be the worst criminal defendant client since John Gotti, who loved to taunt and flaunt while facing criminal charges. After his cocky performance (just reciting the invocation of the right to remain silent) at the House committee this month, most criminal defense attorneys were cringing. Then came his not-so-silent tweets mocking the committee after his appearance. Now, after the IRS hit him with a massive tax bill for unpaid taxes, the former drug company head has offered $10 million to Kanye West for rights to his album The Life of Pablo. This follows his controversial $2 million deal for Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin amidst condemnations of his bilking AIDS victims through over-pricing of life sustaining drugs. Not since Colin Ferguson has a defendant done more to get the court, potential jurors, or anyone on Earth to truly hate him.
As Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli purchased Daraprim, a $13.50 medication indicated for patients requiring treatment of Toxoplasma gondii–an opportunistic pathogen afflicting the immune-compromised such as AIDS patients. He then jacked up the price 5000 percent price so that treatment costs would be over $750 a pill or seventy-five thousand dollars a month. See previous articles HERE and HERE.
One would think that Shkreli would want to conserve his funds. Under the terms of the offer, Kanye would release the album to him and him alone. Still, the IRS says he owes $4.6 million and New York State wants him to pay an additional $2.7 million. On top of that, he is out on $5 million bond. Moreover, much of his fortune is tied up in companies that have filed for bankruptcy. Finally, his penchant for grabbing albums has gone as badly as his career as a pharmaceutical hold up man. He is being sued for $2 million by New York artist Jason Koza over the use of his fan art in the album.
The earlier deal did not appear designed to make money but purely fuel Shkreli’s vanity. The band announced that it would create only one copy of its next album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, and sell it to the highest bidder. While the Clan wanted to forbid the buyer from publicly releasing the album for 88 years, it dropped that claim. However, the buyer’s total freedom had one huge limitation — he could not sell it commercially. So Skhreli can listen to it or release it for free on the Internet, but he cannot sell it.
The most recent offer does not seem to have the same limitations, though he better hope that Kanye West does not use the same multiplier that Skhreli uses on life-preserving drugs. Here is the letter that was accompanied by Shkreli’s tweet: