An agent suing Zion Williamson points to new housing and luxury cars in his parents’ name as evidence that he received improper benefits to sway him to attend Duke.
New court filings submitted Wednesday also call for Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski to testify based on statements he made on the NCAA’s pay-for-play scandal.
The court filings reported by The Athletic’s Daniel Wallach call for discovery and are the latest in a lawsuit filed by marketing agent Gina Ford seeking $100 million from Williamson and his representation after he left Prime Marketing Sports to sign with CAA.
Williamson left his five-year deal with Ford’s Prime Marketing Sports a month after signing it. He sued the agency, claiming that the contract was illegal under North Carolina agent laws in place to protect amateur athletes. The lawsuit against Williamson seeks to prove that he wasn’t eligible to play at Duke to begin with and therefore not protected by the law.
Housing and car claims
Wednesday’s filing claims that Williamson’s parents moved from a $153,000 South Carolina home with a monthly rent of $895 into a North Carolina home valued at $950,000 with a rent listing of $4,995 a month upon signing with Duke.
That home is owned by a Duke alumnus, according to the filing.
Gina Ford’s attorneys also point to the improved housing situation of Zion Williamson’s parents as evidence that he was paid to attend Duke:— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) June 10, 2020
Pre-Duke: $895 monthly rental in South Carolina:
At Duke: resided in NC property valued at $950.000 (with listed monthly rent at $4,995) pic.twitter.com/WSr4Zu48ky
Ford also points to three luxury cars registered to Williamson’s parents — a 2018 Mercedes Benz G Wagon, a 2016 GMC Yukon and a 2015 Cadillac Escalade — citing DMV records as evidence.
The filing also seeks testimony from Krzyzewski while pointing to comments he made on the NCAA’s pay-for-play scandal in 2018.
“Testimony from Coach K is warranted regarding his statements about the NCAA “pay to play” scandal as, when questions about some and any alleged involvement by Duke, he stated that the scandal was just a “blip/minute,” the filing reads.
Wednesday’s filings also point to Nike representatives discussing alleged payments to Williamson in 2017, citing Southern District of New York court records. Duke is a Nike school.
The public record evidence that Gina Ford relies on to sow doubts about Zion Williamson’s eligibility as a “student-athlete” are various exhibits from SNDY college basketball corruption case. Among them are text messages between Nike officials discussing payment to Zion in 2017. pic.twitter.com/FFW4dVKvgn— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) June 10, 2020
Williamson’s lawyer: ‘Shameful attempt to distract’
Williamson's attorney Jeffrey S. Klein called the filing “a shameful attempt to distract from their admitted violations of North Carolina law” in a statement provided to the Raleigh News & Observer.
“As Duke University stated in 2019, they and the NCAA both investigated and confirmed Mr. Williamson's student-athlete eligibility," Klein wrote. "The defendants' baseless allegations are a continuation of the predatory acts the agent statute was designed to protect against.”
Williamson played one season at Duke before becoming the No. 1 overall pick by the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2019 NBA draft. Prime Marketing filed its lawsuit last June on the eve of the NBA draft, a week after Williamson filed his lawsuit against the agency.
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