Affidavit alleges $400K payment to Zion Williamson, stepfather before he played at Duke

Zion Williamson’s legal saga took a dramatic turn on Thursday when a court document outlined an alleged $400,000 payment to the basketball star and his stepfather before he played at Duke.

Williamson’s legal team countered with claims of fraud and forgery.

The affidavit was filed by attorneys for marketing agent Gina Ford, who is embroiled in a legal battle with the New Orleans Pelicans star seeking $100 million after he left her Prime Marketing Sports to sign with CAA.

Ford has filed several documents seeking to prove that Williamson was never eligible to play at Duke, which would bolster the case for her legal claim. The more alleged dirt that Ford uncovers also theoretically increases the pressure on Williamson to settle.

Affidavit outlines alleged $400K request

Thursday’s affidavit filed in a U.S. District Court in North Carolina is provided by a man named Donald Kreiss, who claims to have provided assistance to Slavko Duric’s Maximum Management Group, described as a small marketing group based in Ontario, Canada.

According to the affidavit, Duric requested help in securing a commitment from Williamson through his stepfather Lee Anderson before Williamson played at Duke. Kreiss claimed that he helped Duric and described the process of the alleged $400,000 payment.

“It was further my understanding that to secure the verbal commitment from Lee Anderson (who was acting on behalf of Zion Williamson and the Zion Williamson family) to have Zion sign with ‘MMG,’ Lee Anderson had demanded, and Duric paid, some $400,000 to Lee Anderson and Chubby Wells,” Kreiss wrote.

“I understood that the $400,000 to Lee Anderson and Chubby Wells was paid in the manner directed by Lee Anderson. My understanding is that Lee Anderson requested the money be wired to a bank in South Carolina, shortly after Zion started school at Duke (and that some may have been in October of 2018).”

Why would this matter to plaintiff?

Had Williamson and his family accepted $400,000 from a marketing group prior to or while playing at Duke, he would not have been eligible.

Williamson left his five-year deal with Ford’s Prime Marketing Sports a month after signing it and shortly before being drafted by the Pelicans in 2019. He sued the agency, claiming that the contract was illegal under North Carolina agent laws in place to protect amateur athletes. Ford’s countersuit against Williamson seeks to prove that he wasn’t eligible to play at Duke to begin with and therefore not protected by the law.

The latest in Zion William's legal woes alleges a six-figure payment from marketing agency in 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
The latest in Zion William's legal woes alleges a six-figure payment from marketing agency in 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Other claims of housing, luxury cars

In June, Ford filed legal documents accusing Williamson’s family of accepting housing provided by a Duke alumnus and three luxury cars while Williamson was at Duke. That filing also sought testimony from Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Zion’s lawyer: ‘Frivolous’ and ‘fraudulent’

Williamson’s attorney Jeffrey S. Klein responded to Thursday’s claims, describing them in a statement to The Athletic’s Daniel Wallach as “frivolous” while calling the documents cited in the claim as “fraudulent.”

“The alleged ‘agreements’ and driver’s license attached to these papers are fraudulent — and neither Mr. Williamson nor his family know these individuals nor had any dealings with them,” the statement reads. “We had previously alerted Ms. Ford’s lawyers to both this fact and that we had previously reported the documents to law enforcement as forgeries, but they chose to go ahead with another frivolous filing anyway.

“This is a desperate and irresponsible attempt to smear Mr. Williamson at the very time he has the opportunity to live his ream of playing professional basketball.”


The documents in question can be seen below. If you look closely at the license you’ll notice that Williamson’s height and weight measurements are transposed.

Williamson, 20, is readying for the resumption of his rookie season with the Pelicans, who are scheduled to play in the NBA’s bubble league at Disney World starting July 31.

More from Yahoo Sports:

More From

  • Who are the quarterbacks to target in the mid-rounds?

    Yahoo Sports' Andy Behrens and The Action Network's Chris Raybon discuss which quarterbacks might be good targets during the middle rounds of a fantasy draft. Subscribe to the Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

  • Christian McCaffrey vs. Saquon Barkley at #1

    Yahoo Sports' Andy Behrens and The Action Network's Chris Raybon debate who between Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley should go #1 overall in fantasy drafts. Subscribe to the Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

  • Fantasy Football Podcast: Does it make sense to pass on Christian McCaffrey No. 1 overall?

    Andy Behrens is joined by Chris Raybon of The Action Network to talk fantasy and betting on the latest podcast — listen now!

  • College Podcast: Pac-12 boycott, Big 12 schedule plans, NCAA vs the Power 5

    The news just kept coming over the weekend and Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel are here to break it all down. In the Pac-12, players released a list of demands ranging from health and safety, racial equality and a revenue split. Will this holdout be a true agent of change?  SI’s Pat Forde may be absent from the podcast today but he was plenty busy over the weekend. He and his teammates broke a story suggesting the Power 5 could split with the NCAA over fall championships in 2020. Just how close are we to a major schism and would it be the right move for the Power 5 not only in 2020 but beyond.  And in SEC country, the state of Mississippi is deciding on a new flag and one official submission caught out eye. How can we get Elijah Moore officially on the flag?