Gina Ford, former marketing agent for New Orleans Pelicans rookie star Zion Williamson, claims the 20-year-old was ineligible while playing for Duke because Williamson and his stepfather accepted a $400,000 payment from a Canadian marketing agent in October 2018.
ESPN's Mark Schlabach reported Ford's story found inside a sworn affidavit filed on Thursday.
In a letter to Williamson's attorney, Ford's attorney wrote:
"[W]e obtained newly discovered evidence impacting the issue of whether Zion Williamson was a 'student-athlete' that we believe makes it transparently clear, verifiable and indisputable that he was not a 'student-athlete' long before there was any communication or contact between Zion Williamson, and/or any third party acting on his behalf, and our clients."
Jeffrey Klein, Williamson's attorney, refutes the claim, via Daniel Wallach, who is a legal analyst for The Athletic:
Zion Williamson’s attorneys are claiming that new evidence submitted by Gina Ford is “patently fraudulent.” Among their bombshells:— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) July 9, 2020
- driver’s license is fake
- signature is “clearly fraudulent”
- New agent pulled same scam on Luka Donacic
- matter referred to law enforcement pic.twitter.com/vhnYMITSn9
Ford and Prime Sports Marketing are suing Williamson for $100 million and claiming the first-year pro broke their marketing agreement. Williamson's attorneys, meanwhile, claim Ford wasn't a registered agent in North Carolina and failed to produce a legally valid contract since the document didn't include a warning meant to protect amateur athletes from "unscrupulous agents."
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Player had to finish his college career at Duke to be eligible. UD indicates player went undrafted.