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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Legal Matters

Theo Epstein sued by Arizona rental home owner alleging dog pee, damages

Theo Epstein Cubs

Theo Epstein is being sued by the owners of an Arizona rental home in which he stayed during spring training in 2015 over alleged dog pee stains and damages to the home, according to a report.

The Phoenix New Times has information on the suit and says Epstein and his family stayed in a rental home in Paradise Valley from February to March in 2015.

From the New Times:

According to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court, Epstein’s pup peed prolifically in the $1 million house, staining tile and stone flooring, wood door jams, cabinets, and furniture. In addition to urine stains, the Epsteins also allegedly left the home with drywall holes, broken cabinet handles, a torn shower curtain, a ripped grill cover, and other damages.

The Epsteins say the pet urine stains were in the home prior to them living there. The Epsteins also allege there was a scorpion infestation at the home and have proof based on someone who came out to inspect. They moved out of the home two weeks early and sought a refund due to the infestation. The home owners denied the refund request and also kept the security and pet deposits. The home owners claim they spent over $51,000 in cleaning up the home from the damage caused when the Epsteins lived there.

As for the dog claim, the home owners reportedly used Epstein’s own words against him. Epstein received the billing by Forbes as the world’s greatest leader following the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series.

Epstein tried to downplay the honor by telling ESPN, “Um, I can’t even get my dog to stop peeing in the house.”

Epstein is known for his honesty. That quote may have burned him.

Odell Beckham facing lawsuit over accident involving BMW rental car

Odell Beckham Jr Browns

Odell Beckham Jr was not the driver of a luxury BMW at the time it was involved in a serious accident roughly two years ago, but the star wide receiver could still be on the hook for the damages.

A company called Celebrity Motors has filed a lawsuit against Beckham claiming they let the then-New York Giants star borrow a 2017 BMW 650XG that only he was authorized to drive. The lawsuit, which was obtained by TMZ, states that Beckham let his friend Blake Anderson drive the $100K car, and Anderson wrecked it while cruising along in the Lincoln Tunnel in New York on Oct. 27, 2017. Anderson is said to have “carelessly” cut across several lanes of traffic in an attempt to exit the tunnel, at which point he struck another car and caused $38K in damage.

Lexington Insurance Company, which is the insurance company representing Celebrity Motors, claims Beckham is responsible for the damages since his friend has no experience driving a car with “this kind of power” and has multiple traffic violations on his driving record. However, the company claims Beckham had an “oral agreement,” which could make all of that difficult to prove.

Beckham, of course, signed a $95 million contract extension last year. He also wore an insanely expensive luxury watch during a game earlier this year, so he should have no problem covering the bill if he loses the suit.

LaVar Ball responds to Alan Foster’s embezzlement lawsuit claims

LaVar Ball Lakers

LaVar Ball issued a statement on Thursday in response to the lawsuit filed by his former business partner, Alan Foster.

Foster filed a suit that alleges Ball embezzled $2.5 million from Big Baller Brand to finance his personal life of luxury. Foster was sued in April by Lonzo Ball for allegedly stealing $1.5 million from the New Orleans Pelicans guard. Foster said in his suit that he invested money into Big Baller Brand and personally covered many of Lonzo’s college expenses via a loan.

Here is LaVar’s response, via TMZ Sports.

“Alan Foster’s claims are not only unfounded and devoid of any truth, but are an egregious attempt to turn the attention away from the millions of dollars that he embezzled from the Ball Family and the Ball Family Business. Not only will LaVar Ball and his family continue to vigorously pursue their civil action against Foster seeking civil damages, but will also continue to cooperate with law enforcement in order to seek justice for his egregious actions.”

“The Ball family are all united in relentlessly pursuing Foster for his grave injustices, and will always fight to protect the respected Ball family name, despite Foster’s futile attempt to defile it.”

Foster’s filing was a countersuit to Lonzo’s lawsuit, which is why the statement references pursuing civil action seeking damages against Foster. A report in April said Foster was being investigated by the FBI.

Foster has previously served prison time for running a fraudulent stock scheme.

LaVar Ball accused of embezzling $2.5 million in lawsuit filed by former partner Alan Foster

LaVar Ball Lakers

LaVar Ball can add a new lawsuit to his troubles, in addition to the downfall of his apparel company.

Ball is being sued by his former business partner, Alan Foster, who accuses the Big Baller Brand patriarch of embezzling $2.5 million from the company to finance a personal lifestyle.

The Blast reported details of the lawsuit on Wednesday night and says Ball is officially being sued on grounds of fraudulent concealment and breach of contract.

Foster, who was a minority owner of Big Baller Brand, spent time in prison for running a Ponzi scheme in the past. He was sued by Lonzo Ball in April for allegedly stealing $1.5 million from the New Orleans Pelicans guard. Foster reportedly was being investigated by the FBI. Six months later, Foster has filed a suit turning the tables on the Ball family.

According to The Blast, LaVar Ball approached Foster asking for his help in starting the business.

“In early 2016, in furtherance of LaVar’s intense desire to share in, or rise above, the glory and spotlight of his sons, LaVar approached Alan and asked for his business guidance on how to monopolize and gain fortune and fame from the names and likenesses of his three sons. In response, Alan suggested that the two men brand the “Ball” family name in order to create basketball and entertainment-related businesses. LaVar loved Alan’s idea and wanted to make sure that he was the biggest star in the family, notwithstanding the fact that he was broke, had no savings, poor credit and zero business acumen,” the suit states.

“LaVar is a liar who fraudulently utilized BBB and BSG to fund his personal lifestyle,” Foster alleges.

Foster claims he invested personal money into the company and that LaVar used some of the company funds for his lifestyle, including upgrades to the Ball home and money spent on luxury cars.

A counter argument to Foster’s suit is that a big part of Ball’s business was to attract attention and give off the appearance of extravagance and luxury. The expenditures were probably strategic as part of building the brand.

Foster claims he is owed money he invested into the company to help pay for Lonzo Ball’s expenses while the point guard was in college at UCLA.

The suit says Foster approached LaVar and told the outspoken father that the conduct he exhibited was called embezzlement.

A once-rising brand, Big Baller Brand has gone under and was recently selling items on clearance prices. Lonzo has since left the brand and signed with Nike.

Report: NFL investigating Antonio Brown’s harassing text messages to second accuser

Antonio Brown

The NFL is investigating harassing text messages allegedly sent by Antonio Brown to the second woman who accused the wide receiver of sexual misconduct.

On Monday, Sports Illustrated published a lengthy story containing many allegations of improper behavior by Brown, including incidents for which he has been sued. The story notably contained allegations from a female artist who says she was hired by Brown to paint a mural in his home. Brown met the woman when he won an auction bidding on a painting of hers at a charity softball game for the National Youth Foundation in June 2017. The receiver later hired her to paint a mural in his home.

The woman claims Brown became inappropriate during her second day of painting at his home when he approached her while nude, with nothing but a small towel covering his genitals. She says after she did not respond to his flirtations, the attitude of Brown and his team towards her changed and became chilly. She never finished the painting and was not contacted by Brown again.

In a statement from his attorney shared on Monday, Brown denied the woman’s allegations.

But the story does not end there.

SI’s Robert Klemko, who wrote the original story on Brown, shared screenshots of text messages the woman allegedly received from Brown on Wednesday night, two days after her allegations were published. In his text messages, which were sent to a group of five people, Brown accused the woman of making stuff up for money and directed his people to investigate her.

Klemko says the text messages came from the same number Brown provided to the artist in a 2017 Instagram direct message. Brown included his lawyer on the text messages. Brown’s attorney told Klemko he did not advise Brown to communicate with the woman and otherwise declined comment.

The artist’s lawyer, Lisa J. Banks, contacted the NFL about the harassing messages and asked for the league and New England Patriots to step in and end Brown’s behavior.

The attorney called the messages “intimidating and threatening to our client, in violation of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.”

“Our client … is understandably frightened by these text messages, which are clearly intended to threaten and intimidate her,” the lawyer wrote. “While she certainly qualifies as a ‘starving artist,’ she has never approached Mr. Brown, nor will she, about seeking money to compensate her for his sexual misconduct, contrary to his allegations in the text messages.”

The NFL quickly responded to the lawyer’s letter and set up a phone call between investigators and the artist’s attorney.

SI reached out to the phone number that they believe belonged to Brown, asking about the allegations. “foh clown” was the response they received. “FOH” is an acronym for “get the f— out of here.”

Brown, who made his Patriots debut on Sunday, was first sued by his former trainer, Britney Taylor, who accused him of sexually assaulting her three times between 2017 and 2018. Brown denied the allegations and accused her of making a money grab.

The NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy prohibits: “Stalking, harassment, or similar forms of intimidation.”

The league could view these messages as harassment/intimidation and move to discipline the wide receiver for a violation of the policy, which would jeopardize his playing status.

Antonio Brown reportedly rejected $2 million settlement with Britney Taylor

Antonio Brown had an opportunity to reach a settlement with the woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her on numerous occasions, but the star wide receiver decided not to sign off on the agreement after months of negotiations.

Brown had been discussing settlement options with his former friend and trainer, Britney Taylor, since April and was given a deadline of last Sunday night to sign a proposed agreement, but ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reports that he opted against it. The deadline expired around the same time Brown agreed to a one-year deal with the New England Patriots, and Taylor filed her civil lawsuit in court on Tuesday.

The settlement reportedly would have paid Taylor in excess of $2 million.

Neither the NFL nor the Patriots knew of the allegations against Brown prior to the lawsuit being filed, and that is because the previous discussions between Brown and Taylor were confidential. It’s unclear if Brown verbally agreed to the settlement and then later changed his mind.

Taylor has accused Brown of sexually assaulting her on two separate occasions in 2017 and raping her in 2018. She is scheduled to meet with the NFL on Monday and is willing to fully cooperate with the league’s investigation.

The Patriots supposedly would not have signed Brown had they known about the allegations, but they chose to stick with him after the lawsuit was filed. Brown’s contract with the Patriots includes $9 million guaranteed, and he practiced with the team this week and will play against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Report: Antonio Brown and Britney Taylor were in confidential legal talks for months

Antonio Brown

Representatives for Antonio Brown and Britney Taylor were in confidential legal talks for months about their matter, according to a new report.

Taylor dropped a bombshell on Brown and the NFL when her legal representatives filed a civil lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida Tuesday alleging Brown sexually assaulted her on three occasions. The most serious allegation from Taylor is that Brown raped her in May 2018.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that due to the confidential talks between both sides, neither Brown’s former team, the Oakland Raiders, nor his current team, the New England Patriots, would have known about the matter prior to Tuesday’s filing.

Brown officially signed with the Patriots on Monday, two days after reaching an agreement to sign with them. He was given a one-year deal worth up to $15 million, with $10 million guaranteed.

The NFL is investigating Taylor’s accusations and plans to meet with her next week, Fowler reports. The Patriots reportedly are preparing as if Brown will play in the team’s game on Sunday against the Dolphins. One option the league has is to place Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list, which would remove him from the active roster while allowing him to be paid.

For more on the subject:

A summary of the lawsuits filed against Antonio Brown since 2018
Britney Taylor passed lie detector test regarding Antonio Brown allegations
Britney Taylor planning to meet with NFL after her wedding
The text messages Antonio Brown allegedly sent Britney Taylor
Antonio Brown planning to file countersuit against Britney Taylor
Attorney defends Antonio Brown against ‘money grab’ allegations
Patriots react to lawsuit filed against Antonio Brown

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