By Rick Reeno
Things are heating up, as promoter Dan Goossen and super middleweight champion Andre Ward continue their legal dispute on several fronts.
Last week, Ward filed a lawsuit in federal court against his promoter Dan Goossen and his Goossen Tutor Promotions. The lawsuit - filed in U.S. District Court [Northern District of California, Oakland Division] - alleges violations of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act.
Ward is accusing Goossen of violating the Ali Act by not making timely disclosures between 2004 and 2012 of all compensation or consideration Goossen was receiving from or in relation to the fight. He also accused Goossen of not making timely disclosures of any purse reductions, charges and expenses that would be coming out of Ward’s pay.
The lawsuit claims as examples that Goossen had not complied with the Ali Act disclosures prior to being paid for Ward’s fights with Sakio Bika in 2010, Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch in 2011, and Chad Dawson in 2012.
Earlier this week, BoxingScene ran an exclusive statement from Ward, who urged the United States Attorneys Office to launch a criminal investigation on Goossen as it relates to the claimed violations of the "financial disclosure provision" of the Ali Act.
"I strongly encourage the United States Attorneys Office to investigate what my team and I feel are flagrant violations of the financial disclosure provisions of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act by Dan Goossen and Goossen Tutor Promotions. The financial disclosure provision is the only part of the statute that carries potential criminal liability, but many promoters do not take it seriously because it is not enforced. As a professional prize fighter, I feel I have an obligation on behalf of not only myself, but my fellow professional boxers who risk their lives in the ring, to take a stand and make sure that the Ali Act is taken as seriously as the members of Congress that enacted it designed it to be taken," said Ward in a statement provided to BoxingScene.com.
Goossen has fired back with highly respected attorney Bert Fields, filing a defamation lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Ward, lawyer James McCarroll and firm Reed Smith LLP.
In the legal documents obtained BoxingScene.com, the complaint states:
"Having failed in all of his legal attacks to date, Ward has turned to character assassination. He has hired a new lawyer, and they have launched a deliberate and vicious campaign to smear Goossen in the media with provably false accusations of supposed violations of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act. These are bogus accusations that defendants know to be totally and completely false."
Later in the documents, Fields explained the case against McCarroll, and his firm Reed Smith.
"On or about August 6th, 2014, McCarroll intentionally and knowingly issued false and defamatory statements in the media and public concerning Goossen, including public assertions that Goossen regularly, repeatedly and deliberately violated the Ali Act."
"McCarroll had no factual basis for his false and highly damaging accusations of criminal behavior by Goossen, and issued these public accusations not only in reckless disregard for the truth, but in a deliberate act of unmitigated malice and spite."
Goossen is seeking $10 million dollars in damages, plus legal fees.