Originally created 02/28/05

Building owner met scam suspects

Lisa Edmond says she met with but never planned to lease her nightclub space to an Augusta couple who were arrested there during the weekend and are accused of scamming hundreds of thousands of dollars from companies along the East Coast.

Walker Washington, 36, who claimed on several occasions to be Da'Franchise of the rap group Wu-Tang Clan, and Kendra Denise Porterfield, 30, both of the 2400 block of Wrightsboro Road, are on federal hold at the Richmond County jail.

Authorities in New York, Massachusetts and Florida have been investigating the pair for months over accusations that they racked up hefty hotel bills for limousine, recording and other services and then skipped out without paying, according to news reports.

Mr. Walker and Ms. Porterfield were arrested Friday at 5 p.m. when they showed up at a building at Milledgeville and Barton Chapel roads. Ms. Edmond and Malik Bey own the building.

Mr. Bey said Mr. Washington, whom he knew only as Shawn, contacted them last week about subleasing the space so he could turn it into a club.

"We met with them Thursday, and they wanted to start promoting that night. What was the rush?" Ms. Edmond said.

The next day, Mr. Washington called Ms. Edmond, who told him to come to the property at 5.

"As soon as they pulled up, police showed up," she said.

Another man who had inquired about leasing the property was a federal agent working undercover, Mr. Bey said he was told after the two were captured.

Buffalo, N.Y., businesses have told authorities that Mr. Washington swindled them out of thousands of dollars' worth of services by claiming that his company, New Visions Entertainment, was filming and producing music for a $4 million project.

Ken Rutkowski, the owner of the Outer Limit Recording Studio, said he signed a contract with the accused to record in his studio for three months.

However, Mr. Washington was gone after 15 days, never having paid a dime, Mr. Rutkowski said.

A.C. White, who owns a security firm in Buffalo, said he was contracted to provide security for Mr. Washington for about two weeks but was never paid the almost $8,000 owed to him.

Mr. Washington and Ms. Porterfield are to appear before a federal magistrate today.

Reach Dena Levitz at (706) 823-3339 or dena.levitz@augustachronicle.com.

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