There's more trouble brewing at Sub Pop Records: Besides the current legal battle with the Reverend Horton Heat (the Texas trio who claim Sub Pop made excessive deductions from their recent royalty statements), the company's co-founder is thinking of severing his ties to the groundbreaking label.

"I've been separated from the company for five years, and now I'm filing the divorce papers," says Bruce Pavitt, who started Sub Pop Records with Jonathan Poneman in 1988. Pavitt says he is offering his stake in the company to Warner Music, which already controls 49 percent of Sub Pop.

In an e-mail to a former Sub Pop employee (who forwarded it to The Stranger), Pavitt says he is not happy with the management at Sub Pop--and the Reverend Horton Heat lawsuit is one reason for his displeasure ["Legal Heat," Amy Jenniges, Dec 6]. Sub Pop is also unable to get its debts under control, Pavitt says.

"I do not want to be associated with a company that mistreats artists and employees," Pavitt told The Stranger.

When Poneman heard about Pavitt's e-mail, he expressed interest in Pavitt's share of Sub Pop Ltd. Pavitt and Poneman share ownership of Sub Pop Ltd., which owns 51 percent of the company.

"If Bruce really wants to sell his shares, I wish that he'd contact me directly. I'd love to buy them!" Poneman said in a written statement.

But Pavitt says he has contacted Poneman.

"I made that offer. The same paperwork went to Poneman and Warner," Pavitt says. "Whoever wants to buy my shares, I'm having a garage sale."

If Warner Music purchases Pavitt's share of Sub Pop Ltd., the music giant would have more influence over Sub Pop, but not complete control. Warner Music would own 49 percent of Sub Pop but only 50 percent of Sub Pop Ltd., which controls the other 51 percent of the company. Sub Pop Ltd. would still run the company, as it does now, and Sub Pop Ltd. can't do anything without Poneman's approval. It sounds like a recipe for headaches and stalemates, but Pavitt believes giving Warner Music more control will improve Sub Pop.

"Right now Warner can't really step in and tell Sub Pop to stop wasting money," Pavitt says. If Warner reined in Sub Pop's finances, the label could concentrate on its music. That's in Sub Pop's best interest, Pavitt says.

"They sign good bands and put out good records," Pavitt says.