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Former NBA Star Said to Lie for Vegas Arena

LAS VEGAS (CN) - Former NBA star Jackie Robinson and two companies he heads are accused in a lawsuit of lying to gain financing for a proposed arena project in Las Vegas.

Los Angeles-based S.L. Hare Capital filed a complaint Friday in Clark County District Court that names as defendants Robinson, All Net Development and Dribble Dunk LCC, and claims Robinson wanted S.L. Hare's president to lie to prospective investors and others to raise funds for the proposed $1.4 billion arena.

Robinson is president and CEO of the All Net and Dribble Dunk, companies that are trying to gain financing and local approval of an arena project they ultimately hope will lure an NBA team to Las Vegas, the complaint says.

As part of this effort Robinson and others "made numerous untrue statements" to S.L. Hare's representatives to induce the company to agree to financing agreement, the complaint says.

Those "misrepresentations" include claiming Dribble Dunk had EB-5 visas in place, that Starwood Hotels had committed to build a hotel on the site, that project site owners agreed to "subordinate their ownership position to accommodate financing," and that a Chinese group expressed interest in financing construction, S.L. Hare says.

An EB-5 visa grants visas to immigrant investors who finance projects in the United States that create at least 10 full-time jobs within two years, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

In July 2014, Dribble Dunk, All Net and Robinson entered into a project finance and investment banking agreement with S.L. Hare to raise funding for the project, S.L. Hare says.

S.L. Hare claims it was to be paid a $300,000 retainer but only received $25,000.

The plaintiff claims it worked with "large investors in London, Saudi Arabia, Los Angeles, and China" as well as other possible investors, and its president, Sy Hare, told Robinson it would take time but the funding "was well in the works."

Hare also told Robinson that S.L. Hare would not agree to pursue funding through a private placement memorandum, the complaint says.

A private placement memorandum is a private security used to raise money. In this case, the plaintiff says, it informed Robinson private placement memorandum funding would be too restrictive and would not work.

Robinson and others allegedly claimed they already had raised funds through the EB-5 program, but S.L. Hare says it later learned they "were not even close to obtaining it."

The plaintiff also claims Robinson wanted S.L. Hare founder Sy Hare to meet with potential investors and "say certain things that were untrue," but Hare refused, saying he was unwilling to "compromise his integrity."

S.L. Hare says Robinson, Dribble Dunk and All Net stopped communicating with it in the fall of 2014, and it was not aware of the Oct. 29, 2014, groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed All Net Resort and Arena, which would be located near the SLS Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

An attorney for Dribble Dunk and All Net in November 2014 sent a letter to S.L. Hare informing it that the financing agreement was terminated and included "several false statements," the complaint says.

Despite the October groundbreaking ceremony, the project has stalled. Robinson still has not received project approval from the Clark County Board of Commissioners, and he can't get money from lenders until he does, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported on March 20.

S.L. Hare seeks consequential and punitive damages, attorney's fees and costs on claims of breach of contract, bad faith and unjust enrichment.

The phone number listed for Dribble Dunk is not in service, and All Net Development does not have a listed contact number.

S.L. Hare Capital did not return a call seeking comment, and attorney John Aldrich was unavailable due to dealing with a deadline. Robinson is a former UNLV basketball player and won an NBA title in 1979 as a member of the Seattle Supersonics.

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