Gina Ford — president of Prime Sports Marketing, which formerly represented Zion Williamson — has served the New Orleans Pelicans star requests for admission that he received impermissible benefits while he was a student-athlete at Duke as part of an ongoing legal battle between Williamson and Prime Sports.
Sports betting and gaming law attorney Daniel Wallach, founder of Wallach Legal, LLC, published the court papers of Ford’s request on Sunday.
Gina Ford, the president of Prime Sports Marketing, alleges Williamson received “money, benefits, favors or other things of value,” to attend Duke University and wear or use Nike or an Adidas-sponsored school.
The lawsuit outlines 11 bullet points and specifically mentions Williamson’s mother, Sharonda Sampson, and stepfather, Lee Anderson, as those who received gifts or impermissible benefits on Williamson’s behalf, and that the 19-year-old admit he had knowledge of this.
Included in some of the bullet points are:
• Admit that you knew that Sharonda Sampson demanded and received gifts and economic benefits from persons acting on behalf of Duke University (directly and/or indirectly) to influence you to attend Duke University to play basketball.
• Admit that you knew Lee Anderson demanded and received gifts, money and/or benefits from persons on behalf of Duke University (directly and/or indirectly) to influence you to attend Duke University to play basketball.
• Admit that you knew that Sharonda Sampson demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits from persons on behalf of Nike (directly and/or indirectly) to influence you to attend Duke University to play basketball.
• Admit that before you became a student at Duke University, you knew that Lee Anderson demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits from persons acting on behalf of Adidas (directly and/or indirectly) to influence you to wear Adidas shoes.
Ford had filed a lawsuit against Williamson and Creative Artists Agency for more than $100 million in June of last year alleging that Williamson unlawfully terminated a contract he signed with Prime Sports on April 20, 2019 while still a freshman at Duke.
Ford had negotiated on Williamson’s behalf for endorsement opportunities, but by the end of May 2019, Williamson left Prime Sports and instead signed with CAA to represent him for all business and employment opportunities.
Williamson filed a complaint against Ford in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, arguing that the contract he signed was unenforceable because he violated North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agent Act, which requires representatives of college athletes warn, in writing, the NCAA eligibility impact on the player by signing the contract.
There was no such writing in Williamson’s contract, per Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated.
Ford argued that Williamson was not protected by the UAAA because he was no longer a college athlete on April 20, 2019, and filed her lawsuit in Miami-Dade County Circuit, alleging fraud, bad faith and a violation of the Florida uniform Trade Secrets Act.