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#pounditFriday, January 22, 2021

Zion Williamson, stepfather accused of being paid $400K while at Duke

Zion Williamson

The latest development in the legal battle between Zion Williamson and his former marketing agent, Gina Ford, has the potential to be a huge one.

In a new court filing obtained by Daniel Wallach of The Athletic, Ford and her agency, Prime Sports Marketing, allege that Williamson and his stepfather were paid $400,000 to sign with another marketing agency in October 2018. Williamson was enrolled at Duke at the time.

In response, Williamson’s legal team claimed the new evidence Ford filed is “patently fraudulent.” Williamson’s attorneys claim Ford’s filing included a fake driver’s license and a “clearly fraudulent” signature.

In 2019, Williamson filed a lawsuit in North Carolina against Ford, alleging that his marketing agreement with Prime Sports Marketing was invalid under the Uniform Athlete Agent Act. Ford is not a registered agent in North Carolina and therefore, Williamson’s team believes a contract Williamson signed with her in North Carolina would be void.

Ford filed a suit in Florida saying that Williamson is not protected under the Uniform Athlete Agent Act because he took improper benefits while at Duke, which would make him an ineligible player according to NCAA rules.

Earlier this month, a Florida 11th Circuit Court judge ruled that Williamson would have to give discovery, and therefore answer questions about his eligibility. Williamson has since been granted a stay, meaning he will not have to answer those questions. However, new evidence could potentially overturn the ruling again.

Williamson, who became the No. 1 pick by the New Orleans Pelicans, broke his contract with Prime Sports Marketing to sign with Creative Artists Agency. Ford has claimed the cars Williamson’s family drove and house his parents lived in while he was at Duke are proof that he took improper benefits.

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