Consultant Sues Steve Ballmer for $5 Million
SEATTLE (CN) - Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his associates provided a "myriad of excuses" for failing to pay $5 million to a consulting agency helping the billionaire acquire a professional basketball team, the consultant claims in court.
Cambrea Ezell and Reign Capital Management RCM sued Ballmer, his wife Connie, Stephen Bruce Gordon, his wife Megan Lantry and the Samaris Group in King County court, alleging breach of contract.
Ezell claims Ballmer and Gordon formed Samaris "in furtherance of Ballmer's desire to acquire and manage a professional basketball team," and agreed to pay Ezell $5 million for the basketball consulting work.
Ballmer was part of an investment group that tried to buy the Sacramento Kings in 2013 and bring them to Seattle, but the move was rejected by the NBA.
Ballmer was reported to have bought the Los Angeles Clippers from troubled owner Donald Sterling last week for an NBA-record $2 billion, but the Los Angeles Time reported Monday that Sterling has canceled the deal and released a statement saying the team is not for sale.
Ezell's lawsuit states: "On January 6, 2010, on behalf of himself and Ballmer, Gordon entered into a Consulting Agreement with Ezell. The Agreement specifically provides for a consulting fee of $5,000,000 payable in two installments. A true and correct copy of the Consulting Agreement is attached hereto as Exhibit 'B'. The Consulting Agreement provides that a payment of $2,500,000 was due by February 6, 2010, with the second installment due upon the purchase of RCM by Samaris.
"On January 30, 2010, on behalf of himself and Ballmer, Gordon executed a Letter of Intent for the purchase of RCM for $4,000,000. A true and correct copy of the Letter of lntent is attached as Exhibit 'C'.
"The first payment ($2,500,000) under the Consulting Agreement was not made by February 6, 2010 (and has never been made). In exchange for delaying and/or abating enforcement of the first payment provision, Gordon executed (upon behalf of himself and Ballmer) a Promissory Note in the amount of $5,025,000. The Promissory Note is a demand note, payable no later than January 10, 2012. A true and correct copy of the Promissory Note is attached hereto as Exhibit 'D.'" (Parentheses in complaint.)
Ezell says he has not been paid anything under any of the agreements.
"For almost the past four years, Gordon has provided a myriad of excuses for his and Ballmer's failure to pay under the agreements," the complaint states.
"Ezell and RCM have made multiple demands for payment. As of the filing of this complaint no defendant has tendered payment (or a portion thereof) under any of the agreements."
Ezell wants the $5 million, and damages for breach of contract. He is represented by Joseph A. Grube with Breneman Grube.