By Rick Reeno
BoxingScene.com had previously reported that a second lawsuit, in connection to unbeaten Demetrius Andrade, was filed against Roc Nation Sports.
The initial lawsuit against Roc Nation was filed on July 29th , by Andrade's promoters Star Boxing and Banner Promotions - who are seeking $10 million in damages - with both promoters claiming that RNS interfered with the promotional contract of Andrade.
Attorney Jonathan Kraut [who is handling the initial suit for Star and Banner] informed BoxingScene that Andrade had personally sued Roc Nation Sports for damages. And that lawsuit was filed on July 31, also in New York Supreme Court.
Also on July 31, the World Boxing Organization stripped Andrade of his WBO junior middleweight championship for inactivity.
The legal documents of Andrade's personal suit have been obtained, and the details of his claims against Roc Nation are outlined below.
11. Andrade, a former 2008 Olympian and professional boxer, was at all relevant
times the World Champion since defeating Vanes Martirosyan on November 9, 2013.
12. Andrade has had an Exclusive Promotional Agreement with Star Boxing and
Banner Promotions (the “EPA”) since 2008. Under the EPA, Star Boxing and Banner Promotions have the exclusive right to promote Andrade’s professional boxing contests during the term of the EPA, including any extensions.
13. At all relevant times, the EPA was in full force and effect.
14. Upon information and belief, Enterprises, RNS and RNB are three of several
companies owned in whole or part by Jay Z.
15. Upon information and belief, on or about April 2013, Jay Z formed RNS for
purposes of managing the professional careers of baseball, basketball and football players.
16. Upon information and belief, RNB was formed in June 2014 to provide Jay Z
with an avenue for the expansion of his sports management business into the promotional aspects of professional boxing.
17. Upon information and belief, at all relevant times, Jeff Fried, a sports and
entertainment lawyer, acted as an independent consultant to Roc Nation.
18. Under the guise of offering Andrade assistance in marketing and branding (i.e., garnering clothing line endorsements, advertising sponsorships, modeling assignments and the like), the minions of Roc Nation enticed Andrade, Andrade’s father and Andrade’s manager, Edward Farris (“Farris”), to attend a meeting at Roc Nation’s Manhattan corporate headquarters on September 23, 2014, that included a tour of Roc Nation’s facilities and operations.
19. Several of Roc Nation’s representatives were present for all or part of the
meeting, including: Jay Z’s closest confidant and business associate, Desiree Perez (“Perez”); the President of RNS, Juan Perez; Fried; the head of marketing/branding at Roc Nation, Michael Yormark (“Yormark”); and the President of RNB, David Itskowitch (“Itskowitch”).
20. Perez presented Andrade and his management team with business cards
identifying her as a representative of Enterprises.
21. The representatives of Roc Nation explained to Andrade that they were not
merely interested in marketing him, but wanted to become his promoter, as Roc Nation was seeking to enter the sport of professional boxing.
22. When Andrade and his management team reminded Roc Nation’s representatives that he had an existing EPA with Star Boxing and Banner Promotions, Fried stated that he did not want to discuss the matter further in the meeting for “legal reasons,” but represented that Roc Nation would inquire with Star Boxing and Banner Promotions about purchasing Andrade’s promotional rights.
23. On more than one occasion, Farris was told by Roc Nations’ representatives that Roc Nation was willing pay Star Boxing and Banner Promotions as much as $2,000,000.00 for Andrade’s contract.
24. In e-mails, Perez, Yormark and Itskowitch acknowledged the September 23rd
meeting and expressed their interest in working with Andrade and making him the first addition to Roc Nation’s boxing division.
On September 24, 2014, Perez e-mailed Farris and stated, in pertinent part: “It was a pleasure meeting you guys. Listening to you describing Demetrius was inspiring, your passion and love for him is obvious. We look forward and would be honored to work with him and have him be the boxer to bless our boxing division by being first.”
Then, on the following day, Perez again e-mailed Farris and wrote: “Thanks so much, very exciting!! We are going to make this happen!! Discussed it with Jay Z today and he was very happy to hear. Now it’s just getting all the business in order with the existing promoter deal, I’m sure we will resolve it I’m 24 hours/7 days a week literally [sic].”
25. Following the meeting, Roc Nation’s representatives, including Perez, Fried and Antonio Leonard, an independent promoter who did consulting work for Roc Nation, had further substantive discussions with Farris about the future of Andrade’s boxing career and how they were going to contact Star Boxing and Banner Promotions about purchasing Andrade’s EPA, which purchase they repeatedly stated would be complete before the end of the year.
26. Sometime in late October 2014, Farris advised Roc Nation that Banner Promotions and Star Boxing had obtained an offer from Showtime for Andrade to participate in a Junior Middleweight title defense against Jermell Charlo (“Charlo”) scheduled for December 13, 2014 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
27. In response, Roc Nation and Fried embarked on a campaign to convince Farris and Andrade that Andrade should not sign the agreement negotiated by Star Boxing and Banner Promotions with Showtime for Andrade to fight Charlo. Specifically, Fried told Farris that Roc Nation and Jay Z did not want Andrade to fight on the Showtime card and that Roc Nation, even although it did not promote Andrade, had already been negotiating with senior HBO executives about Andrade fighting on their network. Fried further stated that once Roc Nation became Andrade’s promoter, he would get a much better deal with HBO – a lesser opponent for more money.
28. As a further inducement, Fried created a false fear that Charlo’s representative, Al Haymon, was very influential at Showtime and, as a result, Andrade would not be treated fairly.
29. The proposed Showtime fight with Charlo presented Andrade, Star Boxing and
Banner Promotions with a tremendous opportunity because Showtime, provided Andrade signed the bout agreement to fight Charlo, was also offering Andrade a future three-fight television deal with a fight-by-fight escalation in the rights or license fees being offered by the network.
30. In late October 2014 and early November 2014, Farris had numerous communications with Roc Nation, and advised Roc Nation that unless Roc Nation immediately purchased Andrade’s contract from Banner Promotions and Star Boxing, it was in Andrade’s best interests to sign the contract with Showtime for the Charlo fight. If Andrade rejected the fight it would potentially ruin his career, as it would be difficult (if not impossible) for him to appear on Showtime in the future.
31. Showtime was offering Star Boxing and Banner Promotions a rights fee of
$750,000.00 for Andrade to fight Charlo and Star Boxing and Banner Promotions were offering Andrade $550,000.00 to participate in the bout.
32. On or about November 7, 2014, Farris spoke with Fried who told Farris that he
had personally discussed the situation with Jay Z and Jay Z personally authorized Roc Nation to pay Andrade $550,000.00 – the same amount he was to receive for fighting Charlo – if he rejected the fight with Charlo. Fried also reiterated Roc Nation’s intention to purchase Andrade’s EPA from Star Boxing and Banner Promotions.
33. On or about November 7, 2014, Farris, on behalf of Andrade, and Fried,
individually and/or on behalf of Roc Nation, agreed that Andrade would not accept the Showtime fight with Charlo, and Fried and/or Roc Nation would pay to Andrade the sum of $550,000.00.
34. In reliance on the promise made by Roc Nation and Fried, Andrade on or about November 7, 2014 formally rejected the offer made by Star Boxing and Banner Promotions for him to fight Charlo at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on December 13, 2014.
35. On November 7, 2014, Farris received a telephone call from Perez and Fried who personally thanked him for Andrade’s rejection of the Charlo fight on the December 13, 2014 Showtime card, and reiterated Roc Nation’s obligation to pay Andrade $550,000.00.
36. A few days later, Roc Nation invited Andrade to their Manhattan offices on
November 18, 2014 to finalize their accord and to meet with Jay Z personally. It was also implied that Andrade would receive the $550,000.00 payment.
37. Andrade appeared at Roc Nation’s corporate offices on November 18, 2014,
together with Farris, Andrade’s father, Andrade’s fiancée and Farris’ wife, among others. Roc Nation was represented by Perez, Juan Perez, Fried and several other key executives. Jay Z was even present for a portion of the time.
38. Perez stated at the November 18, 2014 meeting, in sum and substance: (a) that Roc Nation was proud to have Andrade as their first boxer; (b) that Roc Nation would honor its agreement to pay Andrade $550,000.00; (c) that Roc Nation would pay Star Boxing and Banner Promotions up to $2,000,000.00, if necessary to purchase Andrade’s contract from Banner Promotions and Star Boxing; (d) that Roc Nation would complete the purchase of Andrade’s contract from Star Boxing and Banner Promotions on or before December 31, 2014; and (e) that Roc Nation’s payment to Andrade would be made as soon as the negotiations with Star Boxing and Banner Promotions were completed.
39. Roc Nation never tendered the $550,000.00 to Andrade, despite repeated demands for payment.
40. Contrary to Roc Nation and/or Fried’s promises, no substantive or serious efforts were made to purchase Andrade’s exclusive promotional rights from Star Boxing and Banner Promotions.