The lawsuit over the advertising potential of NBA newcomer Zion Williamson now includes the claim that his family had received $ 400,000 from a marketing agency for Duke before his lonely season.
Prime Sports Marketing and company president Gina Ford filed a lawsuit in a Florida court last summer, accusing Williamson and the agency that represents him for violating the contract. This happened a week after Williamson filed his own lawsuit at a North Carolina federal court to terminate a five-year contract with Prime Sports after moving to Creative Artists Agency LLC.
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Documents include a marketing agreement signed by Williamson with MMG in May 2019, a December 2019 letter of declaration signed by Williamson and his stepfather agreeing that MMG President Slavko Duric would pay $ 500,000 for “loan repayment” from October 2018 to pay a copy of Williamson’s South Carolina driver’s license.
In a statement to The Associated Press, Williamson’s lawyer Jeffrey S. Klein said these documents were “fraudulent.”
“The alleged” agreements “and driver’s license attached to these papers are fraudulent – and neither Mr. Williamson nor his family know and have had no dealings with them,” said Klein. “We had previously alerted Ms. Ford’s lawyers to this fact, noting that we had previously reported the documents to the law enforcement agencies as fakes, but they still chose to continue filing frivolously.
“This is a desperate and irresponsible attempt to spot Mr. Williamson when he has the opportunity to realize his dream of professional basketball.”
The affidavit comes from Donald Kreiss, a self-described entrepreneur who has worked with athletes and agents in marketing relationships. He had recently contacted Ford and last week made an affidavit explaining the interactions with MMG and Williamson’s family.
Ford’s lawyers have tried to focus on Williamson’s eligibility. The lawsuit found Prime Sports violated the North Carolina Sports Agents Act by neglecting both disclaimers for the loss of eligibility when signing the contract and the fact that neither Prime Sports nor Ford were registered with the state.
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Ford’s lawyers have argued that the Uniform Athlete Agents Act would not apply if Williamson was not eligible for college basketball from the start.
Ford’s lawyers had tried to reach number 1 in the NBA selection last summer, and New Orleans Pelicans rookie answered questions in the Florida court whether he had received any undue benefits before playing for the Blue Devils. They also raised questions about placing Williamson’s family in a separate file in North Carolina during his Duke career.
A Florida Court of Appeal last month granted a stay to stop the proceedings there, shifting the focus to the North Carolina case.
Duke has repeatedly refused to comment on the case because he is not involved in the lawsuit. In January, however, he made a statement that the school had previously checked Williamson’s eligibility and found no concerns.