Just as we all suspected…. it was NOT that luxury tour bus that got T.I. locked up for an additional 30 days.
According to the incident report issued by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Clifford “T.I.” Harris’s freedom was taken away from him so abruptly due to the fact he had “unauthorized contact with the public” on Aug. 31st.
As I revealed in my post last week, Tip took that 375-mile trip from a federal prison in Arkansas to the Atlanta halfway house with his manager as well two VH1 producers on board the tour bus followed by several vans used for security purposes.
The feds also accuse T.I., who has an untitled VH1 reality show set to premiere Dec. 5th, of violating the conditions of his furlough by conducting business during the trip.
Steve Sadow, Tip’s Attorney, disputes the claims and calls the entire situation “outrageous.”
“They’ve taken what should be a simple misunderstanding and are attempting to punish him for his celebrity status,” Sadow told the AJC on Thursday.
A hearing will be held to determine if a violation occurred, Sadow said, and a prisons investigator would recommend what punishment, if any, should be imposed.
T.I. had originally planned to spend the final month of his latest federal sentence at an Atlanta halfway house, but that all changed just moments after he stepped foot off of the bus as he arrived to check into the facility.
He made the trip from the Federal Correctional Center in Forrest City, Ark., to Atlanta in a motor coach, which was used because of security and privacy concerns, said the rapper’s wife, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, who was on the trip.
Sadow said prison officials apparently are trying to punish T.I. because they believe he should have only been accompanied by his wife.
In addition to T.I. and his wife, two entertainment executives were on the motor coach, Brian Sher, president and CEO of Los-Angeles-based Category 5 Entertainment and Cris Abrego, co-president of 51 Minds Entertainment.
As soon as Tip arrived at Dismas Charities Halfway House in Atlanta, he was ordered to the office of Assistant Director Reginald Brown for a conference call. The call was reportedly requested by Ronald James, a local community corrections management official, and also included counselor Patricia Simpson.
During the call, T.I. was questioned about his “mode of transportation and individuals present on the bus with him.”
T.I. said those on the bus included “his wife, manager and two producers with VH1,” the report says.
The rapper was then told that “such people were not authorized to travel with him in the conditions of the furlough.”
Tip then apparently told on himself by revealing during the call that he had been aboard the bus “discussing a new reality series and a book with these individuals, but made a point of indicating it was not an interview.”
Due to what was discussed during that conference call, officials with the Federal Bureau of Prison came to the following conclusion, which was the deciding factor in T.I.’s return to federal custody:
Inmate Harris had not been authorized to be in contact or be in the presence of his manager or others, except his wife, during his travel.
Additionally, his actions of discussing a new reality series and book with VH1 producers was considered to be conducting business as he was conducting potential business ventures between him and VH1.
T.I.’s parole application, which he signed on June 23 and Arkansas federal prison Warden T.C. Outlaw signed on July 19, contains an “Understanding” of Federal Bureau of Prisons furlough conditions the rapper agreed to follow while on furlough.
Among the conditions, T.I. has to remain at Dismas Charities; if he leaves without permission he will be deemed an escapee; he can be searched and can’t have any contraband or illegal drugs or intoxicants; he cannot have any firearms; and he cannot drive without permission.
The furlough conditions also state T.I. cannot “associate with persons having a criminal record or with those who [the inmate knows] are engaged in illegal occupations.”
The conditions, however, do NOT state T.I.cannot be in contact with or in the presence of his manager or others during his travel. The warden in Arkansas had the authority to add other conditions but none were mentioned in the agreement Harris signed on June 23.
The furlough conditions also state T.I.cannot “sign any legal papers, contracts, loan applications or conduct any business without the written permission of staff.”
T.I.’s attorneys and VH1 producers all swear that there was no business conducted during that 5 hour drive from Arkansas.
Jonathan Leonard, T.I.’s entertainment and business affairs attorney, however, said the rapper and others on the motor coach were not conducting any deals because deals had already been made.
Leonard, in a statement, said an agreement with New Pop Culture Production to do a “follow documentary” surrounding T.I.’s life was negotiated and signed in late July.
He also said a publishing deal was finalized with Harper Collins Publishing in June.
Just FYI… Tip’s untitled show is set to air Dec. 5 at 10 p.m. for 10 half-hour episodes.
Let’s play the BLAME GAME….
Who is to blame for Tip’s return to federal custody?