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#pounditTuesday, August 3, 2021

Legal Matters

Exclusive: Julio Jones, Roddy White sued by cannabis company for alleged fraud, money laundering

Julio Jones

Julio Jones and Roddy White are being sued by a cannabis company for alleged fraud and money laundering, among other allegations.

A cannabis business called “Genetix” filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on July 21 that names Jones, White and White’s company “SLW Holdings, Inc.” as one of the defendants.

Genetixs, which is comprised of five members including White’s SLW company, says they obtained a cannabis license from the Department of Cannabis Regulation through its Social Equity Program.

The business says it intended to take part in a legal cannabis operation, following the guidelines in California.

Genetixs leased a facility in Desert Hot Springs, Calif. in Feb. 2020 where they intended to cultivate and grow cannabis in accordance with state regulations. However, the complaint alleges that things went wrong when Genetixs hired a man named John Van Beek to oversee the buildout and management of their facility.

Not only is Van Beek accused of charging excessive money for the buildout and giving money to his son’s construction company, but he also allegedly began to breach his duties. Genetixs accuses Van Beek of failing to provide budgets, expenditures, invoices, and other business-related paperwork. State inspections of the facility made note of numerous violations at the facility. Van Beek was terminated in March, 2021.

Genetixs alleges that Jones and White, who were teammates on the Atlanta Falcons for five years, went behind the company’s back to work with the Van Beeks. The Van Beeks allegedly cultivated and grew cannabis for sale on the illegal black market, enriching themselves and Jones and White. The Van Beeks disconnected cameras in the facility, began squatting there, and prevented a new manager from entering the facility, according to the complaint.

The suit says the Van Beeks have not reported sales to Genetixs since March. Genetixs estimate about $3 million in cannabis has been harvested and sold illegally per month since then.

The Van Beeks, in connection with White and Jones, allegedly abandoned the Genetixs Cannabis Facility and surrendered the premises to the landlord. Before doing so, they allegedly “looted, removed, and misappropriated” Genetixs’ cannabis derived from more than 22 harvests. They allegedly removed and misappropriated machinery, equipment, and fixtures located within the facility that are worth millions.

Jones, White, SLW, the Van Beeks, and other defendants are being sued on grounds of conspiracy to defraud, aiding and abetting, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, and breach of contract.

Genetixs is seeking general, punitive and exemplary damages, and injunctive relief.

Rafe Emanuel, the lawyer representing SLW Holdings and Roddy White and Julio Jones, told Larry Brown Sports that the allegations are “meritless.”

“The vague allegations against SLW Holdings, LLC, and its members, Roddy White and Julio Jones, are meritless. In May, SLW obtained a temporary restraining order in a related civil case to prevent unlawful conduct involving Genetixs, LLC. In reply, the defendants argued conspiracy theories that were not proven by evidence in Court, nor were they substantiated before any agency. We look forward to again defending these conspiracy theories against my clients in Court,” Emanuel said in a statement.

White, 39, played for the Atlanta Falcons from 2005-2015, making four Pro Bowls as a wide receiver. His career earnings were approximately $65 million. Jones was a wide receiver for the Falcons from 2011-2020. He was traded to the Tennessee Titans this offseason. His career earnings thus far total $125 million. Larry Brown Sports has reached out to the representatives for Jones and White seeking a comment and response.

Additionally, White tells Larry Brown Sports that the allegations are “completely false.” He says he did a background check and learned that two of the people involved with Genetixs are felons who put the company’s cannabis license in jeopardy. He says they are trying to have the men removed from the company, and that their attempt to remove the men spurred the legal complaint in response. White states that he and Jones financed Genetixs from start to finish, and therefore they would have no reason to steal from themselves.

Lamar Odom sued over missed car payments, blames his ex

Lamar Odom

Lamar Odom was taken to court by his ex-girlfriend over missed payments, and now he is being taken to court by a car company over missed payments.

TMZ Sports reported on Thursday that Odom was sued by US Bank Leasing over missed car payments on a 2017 Chevrolet Suburban. Odom hasn’t made payments on the car loan since Feb. 2020, the lender claims. He owes $668.40 per month, according to the report.

A total of $35,116.76 is owed on the car. The lender is threatening repossession if they do not receive payment.

Odom’s rep told TMZ that the car was purchased for the former basketball player’s ex. It’s unclear whether that means Odom’s ex-wife Khloe Kardashian, or his ex-girlfriend who has sued him over other financial matters.

Odom recently defended himself against deadbeat dad claims. The 41-year-old says he does not begin receiving his NBA pension until he is 46.

Richard Sherman will not face burglary charge over alleged incident with in-laws

Richard Sherman

Free agent cornerback Richard Sherman will avoid the most serious charges after an alleged incident at the home of his in-laws early Wednesday.

According to CBS Sports legal analyst Amy Dash, Sherman was released without bail on Thursday, with a judge citing his track record of community work. He will not be charged with burglary stemming from the Wednesday incident. He is expected to face four separate misdemeanor charges, including criminal trespassing, malicious intent, and resisting arrest, as well as a DUI. He was also issued a no contact order against his father-in-law.

Dash added that Sherman is unlikely to face jail time as a result of the misdemeanor charges, particularly since he has no previous criminal history.

Police alleged Wednesday that Sherman attempted to unlawfully gain entry to his in-laws’ home and resisted arrest, which resulted in the deployment of a police dog. A 911 call suggests that the free agent cornerback was exhibiting some concerning behavior prior to his involvement with the police.

Urban Meyer subpoenaed over hiring of Chris Doyle

Urban Meyer

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer continues to feel some lingering repercussions over his decision to hire former Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle.

The Jaguars confirmed Wednesday that both Meyer and GM Trent Baalke were subpoenaed as part of a lawsuit filed by black fomer Iowa players suing Doyle for discrimination. The team added that both Meyer and Baalke submitted written depositions in relation to the team’s decision to hire and then fire Doyle in January.

“We respect and will cooperate with the legal process as required,” the team said, via the Associated Press. “However, the Jaguars have no information that would be relevant to the lawsuit between student-athletes and the University of Iowa.”

Meyer hired Doyle in January and initially stood by the hire after significant criticism. Doyle left Iowa in 2020 amid allegations that he had been racist toward black players, which Doyle has denied. Doyle ultimately resigned from the Jaguars in light of the criticism of his hiring.

Frank Clark officially charged on felony weapons possession

Frank Clark

Frank Clark was officially charged in Los Angeles County Friday with felony weapons possession for one of his two arrests since March.

Clark was arrested twice in Los Angeles on felony weapons possession allegations this year. One arrest came in March when the Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman was pulled over while driving with another man. The two were pulled over because their car did not have a license plate.

Police observed a gun in Clark’s vehicle and arrested him for possession of two loaded firearms. Clark was charged by the county’s district attorney Friday for this incident.

Clark was also jailed in June for a similar but different arrest.

On June 20, Clark was pulled over while driving in Los Angeles on a routine traffic stop. Police noticed an Uzi in an open duffle bag in his car and arrested him for felony illegal possession of a firearm. There has not been an update on that case.

Clark is set to be arraigned for his March incident on July 14.

MLB reportedly looking into Trevor Bauer’s history as part of investigation

Trevor Bauer

Major League Baseball has launched its own investigation into sexual abuse allegations against Trevor Bauer, and the league is taking several angles.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, MLB investigators are pursuing “a range of inquiries” relating to Bauer. The league has spoken to the accuser’s lawyer, and hopes to speak directly to the accuser in coming days. League officials also wish to speak to Bauer, but it is unclear if and when that will happen. Notably, any conversations Bauer has with MLB would be subject to subpoena as part of the Pasadena Police Department’s ongoing investigation into the allegations.

MLB investigators are also reported to be delving into Bauer’s personal history. The league wants to know if there have been any other incidents involving Bauer that it is not aware of. This is similar to how the league has pursued other investigations relating to the sport’s domestic violence policy.

MLB’s investigation into the Bauer allegations is taking place concurrently with the police investigation, which law enforcement said has become larger than originally expected.

Bauer has been accused of assaulting a woman with whom he had two sexual encounters this year. The woman claims the encounters began as consensual before going beyond what she consented to. She sought medical attention for injuries she suffered following their second encounter, which was on May 15. You can read her allegations here.

Bauer says the woman sought rough sex from him and that everything was consensual. His legal team provided Larry Brown Sports with text message conversations that Bauer and the woman allegedly shared between their two encounters.

The woman has been granted an ex parte restraining order, which is granted based purely on allegations. Bauer will have his chance to respond on July 23. The Pasadena Police Department is investigating the incident, but Bauer has not been charged with a crime.

Trevor Bauer text messages show accuser asked for slaps and ‘all the pain’

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer has been accused by a woman of assault but claims he is innocent. Purported text messages exchanged between the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and the accuser appear to show the woman asking for Bauer to get physical with her and for him to give her “pain.” The text messages were allegedly exchanged between the first (April 21) and second (May 15) sexual encounter between Bauer and the woman. They were sent to Larry Brown Sports by Bauer’s representatives.

You can see the messages below (click to enlarge each one), along with some of the dated timestamps. In the exchanges, the messages written in white allegedly come from the accuser. Bauer’s alleged messages are written in blue. Larry Brown Sports has altered two portions of the messages — once to censor a photo shared by the woman in the exchange. The other alteration was to block the F-word twice. Note: the image included in the first screenshot is not of the woman, but just a stock GIF she shared that is available through a text message app.

Trevor Bauer text message Trevor Bauer text messageTrevor Bauer text message

Additionally, Bauer’s representatives shared with Larry Brown Sports a deleted tweet allegedly sent by the accuser to Bauer in the early morning of May 16, which would have been during their second encounter.

The alleged deleted tweet read: “Absolute diesel straight down the d–k kinda energy” (LBS censored one word in the tweet).

Police in Pasadena, Calif., which is where Bauer lives, are investigating the allegations.

Here is a statement from Bauer’s agent Jon Fetterolf regarding the situation:

“Mr. Bauer had a brief and wholly consensual sexual relationship initiated by [the woman] beginning in April 2021. We have messages that show [the woman] repeatedly asking for “rough” sexual encounters involving requests to be “choked out” and slapped in the face. In both of their encounters, [the woman] drove from San Diego to Mr. Bauer’s residence in Pasadena, Calif. where she went on to dictate what she wanted from him sexually and he did what was asked. Following each of her only two meetings with Mr. Bauer, [the woman] spent the night and left without incident, continuing to message Mr. Bauer with friendly and flirtatious banter. In the days following their second and final encounter, [the woman] shared photos of herself and indicated that she had sought medical care for a concussion. Mr. Bauer responded with concern and confusion, and [the woman] was neither angry nor accusatory.

“Mr. Bauer and [the woman] have not corresponded in over a month and have not seen each other in over six weeks. Her basis for filing a protection order is nonexistent, fraudulent, and deliberately omits key facts, information, and her own relevant communications. Any allegations that the pair’s encounters were not 100% consensual are baseless, defamatory, and will be refuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The woman involved in the case was granted an ex parte restraining order following her allegations. Bauer is scheduled for a hearing on July 23 to share his side.

“I agreed to have consensual sex; however, I did not agree or consent to what he did next,” the woman says. “I did not agree to be sexually assaulted.”

You can read further details on the woman’s accusations here.

The Dodgers have confirmed they are aware of the allegations. MLB is currently investigating.

Trevor Bauer accuser provides graphic details and photos of alleged assault

Trevor Bauer

The woman accusing Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer of assault provided photo evidence and graphic details in a 67-page document filed as part of a restraining order.

The document, obtained by Brittany Ghiroli and Katie Strang of The Athletic, includes allegations of two separate assaults, and the woman alleged that Bauer strangled her to the point of losing consciousness multiple times. She adds that the encounters, which began consensually, also included Bauer punching her in the face, vagina, and buttocks, and also sticking his fingers down her throat. In one of the incidents, she alleges that Bauer penetrated her anally while she was unconscious, which she never consented to.

Medical notes provided also state that the woman suffered “significant head and facial trauma.” A hearing is scheduled for July 23 to give Bauer and his camp the opportunity to respond to the allegations.

“I agreed to have consensual sex; however, I did not agree or consent to what he did next,” the woman says. “I did not agree to be sexually assaulted.”

The report from The Athletic contains a number of other graphic details. There are also descriptors of the photos, which depict the woman with a visibly bruised and swollen face, a bloody lip, scratches to her face, and a swollen jaw. Also presented to the court is her account of a recorded conversation she had with Bauer with the assistance of the Pasadena Police Department in which Bauer admitted to repeatedly punching her in the buttocks before trying to change the topic when she stated she had not consented to that.

Bauer, the reigning NL Cy Young winner, has denied the allegations. Bauer’s attorney says they have messages proving the encounters were wholly consensual. They also say that the woman reached out to Bauer seeking “rough sex” and to be choked out by him.

“Mr. Bauer had a brief and wholly consensual sexual relationship initiated by [the woman] beginning in April 2021,” Bauer’s agent said in a statement. “We have messages that show [the woman] repeatedly asking for ‘rough’ sexual encounters involving requests to be ‘choked out’ and slapped in the face. In both of their encounters, [the woman] drove from San Diego to Mr. Bauer’s residence in Pasadena, Calif. where she went on to dictate what she wanted from him sexually and he did what was asked. Following each of her only two meetings with Mr. Bauer, [the woman] spent the night and left without incident, continuing to message Mr. Bauer with friendly and flirtatious banter. In the days following their second and final encounter, [the woman] shared photos of herself and indicated that she had sought medical care for a concussion. Mr. Bauer responded with concern and confusion, and [the woman] was neither angry nor accusatory.

“Mr. Bauer and [the woman] have not corresponded in over a month and have not seen each other in over six weeks. Her basis for filing a protection order is nonexistent, fraudulent, and deliberately omits key facts, information, and her own relevant communications. Any allegations that the pair’s encounters were not 100% consensual are baseless, defamatory, and will be refuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The Dodgers have confirmed they are aware of the allegations. MLB is currently investigating.

Update: You can see the purported text messages exchanged between Bauer and the woman here.

Family of Tyler Skaggs sues Angels over pitcher’s death

Former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died of a drug overdose nearly two years ago, and his family is now suing the team for wrongful death.

According to Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times, a lawsuit was filed Tuesday morning in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of Skaggs’ widow, Carli. The complaint accuses the Angels of wrongful death and negligence. Former Angels communications director Eric Kay and vice president of communications Tim Mead are also named as defendants.

Skaggs, who was 27, died after choking on his own vomit in a hotel room with fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system on July 1, 2019. Kay was charged last year with distributing the fentanyl that contributed to Skaggs’ overdose.

Before he was charged, Kay had admitted to federal investigators that he provided oxycodone to Skaggs and used opioids himself. He said two other Angels employees, one of which was Mead, knew about Skaggs’ drug use. The Angels said in a statement last year that no one with the team’s management was aware Skaggs was abusing drugs.

“The Angels breached their duty when they allowed Kay, a drug addict, complete access to Tyler,” the lawsuit reads. “The Angels also breached their duty when they allowed Kay to provide Tyler with dangerous illegal drugs. The Angels should have known Kay was dealing drugs to players. Tyler died as a result of the Angels’ breach of their duties.”

The lawsuit does not seek a specific amount in damages.

The Angels could have faced a significant fine from Major League Baseball if it was determined that they knew of Skaggs’ drug use, but MLB never penalized the team.

Alex Rodriguez scores legal victory in lawsuit filed by ex-brother-in-law

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez faced some troubling allegations in a lawsuit that was filed against him by his ex-wife’s brother years ago. The former New York Yankees star may have to prove he did not cheat his former brother-in-law out of money, but it does not sound like the case has any link to A-Rod’s MLB career.

Christian Red of Forbes reports that Rodriguez scored a significant victory in the civil case on June 9, when a judge quashed a subpoena that was directed at Major League Baseball. Constantine Scurtis, Rodriguez’s former brother-in-law, wanted to obtain records and information related to A-Rod’s link to the Biogenesis doping scandal in 2013. Florida Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman ruled that the information is not relevant to the case and does not need to be uncovered.

“The Court finds that Mr. Rodriguez’s alleged steroid use is not relevant nor reasonably calculated to lead to discovery of admissible evidence on the issues framed by the pleadings in this case,” Hanzman said during a Zoom call hearing.

Scurtis, the brother of Rodriguez’s ex-wife Cynthia Scurtis, originally filed a lawsuit against A-Rod in 2014. He claims Rodriguez cheated him out of money after the two began a real estate venture together in 2003, when A-Rod and Cynthia were married. Constantine amended the lawsuit earlier this year to include some new explosive allegations.

A-Rod was suspended for the entire 2014 MLB season due to his alleged involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. The last thing he needs is more information from that investigation coming out, so he dodged a bullet for his career and reputation with the recent court ruling.