Buffalo Bills cornerback Terrence McGee thought he was set for life when the signed a contract extension that included a $5 million bonus.
Some 16 months later, McGee’s financial picture doesn’t look so secure: He filed a lawsuit this week seeking to recoup more than $1 million that McGee said his former financial adviser funneled into unauthorized and possibly nonexistent investments.
The suit, filed in Harris County District Court in Texas on Tuesday, accuses Craig Curry of stealing the money from McGee’s account and covering up the theft by making two suspicious investments.
Curry is accused of using forged documents to spend $600,000 on what are described as “three worthless — and likely phony — stock certificates” in Corporate Community Inc., described as a computer software company in Austin, Texas. Curry is also accused of investing $450,000 in an unknown land development project in the Dominican Republic, which McGee said he didn’t know about until last September, shortly before he fired Curry.
Curry laughed off the lawsuit in an interview with The Associated Press.
“Just because he doesn’t have copies, that does not mean that originals do not exist of those documents,” Curry said when asked whether McGee provided written authorization to make the investments. “That means he probably has a very bad filing system or his recall is not that good, right?”
Curry declined to discuss the investments in Corporate Community Inc., saying he maintains a confidentiality agreement with McGee.
McGee’s Buffalo-based lawyer, David Sampson, said the funds went missing between November 2005 — after McGee signed a four-year contract extension — and last September,
Also named in the suit are McGee’s former agent, Terry Bolar, and current Washington Redskins assistant coach Jerry Gray. They are accused of conspiring in the scheme and had opportunity to benefit from it by introducing McGee to Curry.
Sampson said both Gray, the Bills defensive coordinator through 2005, and Bolar should have warned McGee that Curry was not licensed to represent NFL players and that both were also aware of Curry’s past criminal record.
Curry was convicted in 1996 of defrauding John Copeland by using the former NFL player’s credit line to transfer money to buy a car for Florida State football player, Corey Sawyer. The NFLPA requires financial advisers to be licensed by the union and bars convicted felons from representing players.
Gray and Curry were college teammates at Texas in the early 1980s. The suit states that Bolar suggested hiring Curry to McGee and Gray provided McGee with a solid recommendation, referring to Curry as his financial adviser.
Bolar disputed the claim, saying he did not have any type of relationship with Curry and only knew him in passing. Bolar said he was not aware of any financial investments McGee made before or after he was dismissed by the player early last year.
Gray, who joined the Redskins prior to last season, was not available for comment because his phone number is not listed. Numerous messages left with a team spokesman were not returned. Gray’s last known agent, Gary O’Hagan, also did not return a message.
No criminal charges have been filed.
Bolar also dismissed the lawsuit.
“That’s funny, man. That’s very funny, stealing money,” Bolar said. “There’s no truth to that at all.”
George Hawthorne, CEO of Bolar’s firm, Prestige Sports, called McGee’s lawsuit “laughable.”
He said the suit is tied to a financial dispute between Bolar and McGee that is currently before an NFLPA arbitrator.
Bolar accuses McGee of shortchanging him after negotiating the 2005 contract. Bolar said McGee paid him one percent of the signing bonus when he was owed three percent.
McGee said he was intending to fire Bolar prior to the deal being reached and they agreed to the one percent deal.
Sampson said Gray urged McGee to keep Bolar as his agent, at one point pulling McGee out of a team meeting during the 2005 season to caution him against firing Bolar.
Sampson called Gray’s involvement highly inappropriate.
“That he took such an interest and, in particular, used his influence to press Terrence to keep Bolar as his agent is very troubling,” the lawsuit states. “No explanation makes sense other than that Gray had something to gain financially by interceding into Terrence’s business and financial affairs.”
The suit was filed in Texas because that’s where McGee and Curry live.
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