A lawsuit brought against rapper Ja Rule over an unpaid construction bill has been dropped by the contractor who originally brought the matter to court. According to The Bergen Record, contractor Joel Tobia told Superior Court Judge Roy F. McGeady that since the story hit the media, several people he knew had warned him about moving forward with the case. Tobia claims that Ja, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, still owes him $8,000 for extensive work he performed on the rapper’s $3.5 million mansion. “I feel extremely uncomfortable going forward with this case,” Tobia told Judge McGeady. “People are asking me, ‘Do you know what you are doing?’ I have two children. I am concerned. I hope you are reading between the lines.” The judge replied that it was not his job to read between the lines and dismissed the case. Tobia, who has already won a default judgment against Ja for the unpaid money in civil court, was trying to have criminal charges brought against the rapper.
Ja’s attorney, Brian Neary, downplayed the dispute. “It was a simple dispute between a contractor and a homeowner,” Neary said. “They happen all the time. Just because Jeffrey is a celebrity doesn’t change the basic argument. We will deal with the dispute in the appropriate court.” In a surprising development, The Record revealed that Neary had previously represented Tobia in a criminal case. In 1999 the contractor was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a woman. He was later released on $100,000 bail and told to stay away from the River Vale neighborhood where the alleged attack took place. Because of a lack of witnesses, Tobia was eventually indicted on charges of threatening violence and sentenced to five years probation and ordered to undergo counseling for anger management, domestic violence, parenting and drugs.