Court document outlines $400,000 payment to Zion Williamson's stepfather

Steve Wiseman, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) on

Published in Basketball

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Zion Williamson's stepfather requested and accepted a $400,000 payment from a marketing agent in October 2018 prior to his stepson's Duke career, according to a sworn affidavit.

The affidavit was filed by attorneys for Gina Ford, Williamson's former marketing agent, in a federal court in Greensboro on Thursday and obtained by the News & Observer. Ford is in a contract dispute with the NBA star and alleges she was not the agent who made the payment.

If the payment happened, it would violate NCAA amateurism rules and would have rendered Williamson ineligible to compete as a college athlete.

In a statement to the News & Observer, Williamson's attorney, Jeffrey Klein, denied the allegations and said the documents filed are fraudulent.

"The alleged 'agreements' and driver's license attached to these papers are fraudulent," Klein said, "and neither Mr. Williamson nor his family knows these individuals nor had any dealings with them. 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 dream of playing professional basketball."

The affidavit outlines sworn testimony by Donald Kreiss, a West Hollywood, Calif., man who says he has helped marketing agent Slavko Duric in his dealings with Williamson. Thursday's filing includes a copy of a marketing agreement Williamson signed with Duric and Maximum Management Group on May 2, 2019.

In Thursday's court filing, Ford's attorneys claim Kreiss contacted her, saying he had knowledge of Williamson's NCAA rules violations. They said Kreiss provided the proof to her on July 1.

Williamson also signed a marketing agreement with Ford's Miami-based Prime Sports Marketing agency in April 2019. A month later, he signed with Creative Artists Agency to represent him in marketing deals and his NBA contract negotiations.


Ford claims Williamson owes her $100 million for breaking their contract to sign with CAA. Williamson sued her in Greensboro federal court, saying that contract was never valid since she was not registered with the state of North Carolina to operate as an agent in the state.

Ford countersued in a Florida court saying North Carolina's Uniform Athlete-Agent Act doesn't apply to Williamson since he had violated NCAA rules and never should have been eligible to play at Duke.

The Florida court ruled last month that the federal case in Greensboro should be allowed to play out before Ford's case in Florida proceeds.

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