But it’s a different story now. Mr Rule, as First Round likes to call him since we haven’t been acquainted, is currently serving time in a New York prison for gun possession and, latterly, tax evasion. And according to the Wall Street Journal, he has, improbably, made a felonious friend of the white collar variety: Alan Hevesi, the former New York State comptroller, who’s currently locked up in the same clink for his role in the notorious ‘pay to play’ scandal at the New York State Pension Fund.
Now this may sound like a massively implausible newspaper fabrication. But First Round desperately hopes that it’s true; that Ja is now whiling away his evenings listening to his new chum Hevey D (yes, honestly) wax lyrical about the denominator effect and the virtues of vintage year diversification.
And of course, the potential importance of this goes far beyond briefly alleviating the unbearable tedium of life behind bars. This is, after all, a very tough fundraising climate – and while R-U-L-E may, admittedly, have fallen on hard times of late (thanks in no small part to his failure to pay income tax on the £3 million he earned between 2004 and 2006) he remains a multi-platinum artist with 30 million record sales under his belt. Presumably he must have a pile of Benjamins stashed away somewhere, right?
So when he gets out, newly armed with the accumulated knowledge and experience of his friend Hevey, what better way to continue his rehabilitation into society than by investing it all in private equity as an LP? Placement agents: you know where he is. And he’s not going anywhere.