Clippers update: Team alleges fraud and so does Mike Dunleavy
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Hear the word ‘arbitration’ and the vision is of a straightforward and quick process.
Then you realize the Clippers, owner Donald Sterling and former coach and general manger Mike Dunleavy simply cannot be involved in something uncomplicated.
Simply. Can’t. Happen.
The latest turn in the battle between the team and its former coach/GM took a wild turn last week when the team, trying to halt Dunleavy’s arbitration claim, alleged in a Los Angeles Superior Court filing that Dunleavy fraudulently induced the Clippers into entering an employment agreement:
‘During negotiations of the Employment Agreement, Dunleavy made representations and promises to LAC (the Clippers) that he desired to, and would continue to perform, his duties and obligations as LAC’s Head Coach through the 2010-11 NBA Season. LAC is informed and believes, and thereon allege, that at the time he made those representation and promises, Dunleavy had no intention to perform his duties and obligations as LAC’s Head Coach through the 2010-11 NBA season, and knew these representations and promises to be false.
‘LAC is further informed and believes, and thereon allege, that Dunleavy made these representations and promises to induce LAC to enter the Employment Agreement, provide him a long-term contract, and to secure additional compensation for promising to act as LAC’s Head Coach through the 2010-11 NBA season.’
The next paragraph in the filing, which was on July 29, said that had the Clippers ‘known the truth,’ they never would have entered the employment agreement.
[Updated, 2:10 p.m.: Miles Clements, Dunleavy’s lawyer, called it ‘another delay tactic,’ adding,'There is a pattern of conduct and we pointed that out to the arbitrator. This has been done a number of times by the Clippers, a money-saving strategy and I think that’s probative of what happened here, or what is happening.”]
Another element: The parties are both alleging fraud.
Dunleavy filed for arbitration in June against the Clippers and Sterling, alleging he was fraudulently induced into entering an employment contract.
Fraud alleged all around.
Said Robert Platt, the Clippers’ general counsel: ‘We welcome the opportunity to present our case at trial. This matter will be heard in the proper forum at the appropriate time. We are very confident that the evidence we present will inevitably result in a favorable determination.’
Stay tuned for more at latimes.com
-- Lisa Dillman
Photos, from top: Mike Dunleavy coaches the Clippers in October 2009. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times. Donald Sterling in 2006. Credit: Los Angeles Times