Court case alleges $ 400,000 paid to the Zion Williamson family in 2018

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The legal fight against the approval potential of NBA rookie Zion Williamson now includes an allegation that his family received $ 400,000 from a marketing agency before his season alone for Duke.

Prime Sports Marketing and president of the company, Gina Ford, filed a lawsuit last summer in a state court in Florida, accusing Williamson and the agency that represented him of breach of contract. It happened a week after Williamson filed his own lawsuit in North Carolina federal court to terminate a five-year contract with Prime Sports after moving to Creative Artists Agency LLC.

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Ford lawyers on Thursday included a sworn affidavit from a Californian man who said that the head of a Canadian company called Maximum Management Group (MMG) told him he had paid the family from Williamson for his commitment to sign with MMG once he left Duke for the NBA.

The documents include a marketing agreement signed by Williamson with MMG from May 2019, a “declaration letter” from December 2019 signed by Williamson and his stepfather agreeing to pay $ 500,000 to the president of MMG Slavko Duric for ” loan repayment ‘from October 2018, and a copy of Williamson’s South Carolina driver’s license.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Williamson’s lawyer, Jeffrey S. Klein, said the documents were “fraudulent”.

“The so-called” agreements “and the driver’s license attached to these documents are fraudulent – and neither Mr. Williamson nor his family know or have had any dealings with them,” said Klein. “We had already alerted Ms. Ford’s lawyers both to this fact and to the fact that we had already reported the documents to law enforcement officials as counterfeits, but they still chose to pursue another frivolous filing.

“This is a desperate and irresponsible attempt to smear Mr. Williamson at the very moment when he has the opportunity to live his dream of playing professional basketball. ”

The affidavit is from Donald Kreiss, a self-proclaimed entrepreneur who has worked with athletes and agents in marketing relationships. He had recently contacted Ford and then provided the affidavit last week describing the interactions with MMG and Williamson’s family, according to one of the documents filed.

Ford’s attorneys have sought to focus on the eligibility of Williamson. His trial found that Prime Sports had violated the North Carolina sports agents law, both by failing to include warnings regarding the loss of eligibility when signing the contract and the fact that neither Prime Sports nor Ford were only registered with the state.

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Ford’s lawyers argued that the Uniform Athlete Agents Act would not apply if Williamson was not eligible to play college basketball from the start.

Ford attorneys had sought the No. 1 pick in the NBA general draft last summer and rookie New Orleans Pelicans had responded to the Florida State Court if he had received benefits inappropriate before playing for the Blue Devils. They had also raised questions about the housing of Williamson’s family during his Duke career in a separate file in North Carolina.

Last month, a Florida court of appeal granted a stay of proceedings to stay there, focusing on the North Carolina case.

Duke repeatedly refused to comment on the matter because he is not involved in the litigation, but released a statement in January that the school had previously examined Williamson’s eligibility and found no concern.

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