BALTIMORE (CN) - All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis says in court that his longtime friend and attorney defrauded him of $1.7 million in a failed business venture.
The March 13 complaint names as defendants Marc Rosen, of Sparks, Md., and Rosen's law firm, formerly known as Rosen & Warshaw.
Now an ESPN contributor, Lewis was a Super Bowl MVP for the Baltimore Ravens, having stayed with that franchise for his entire 17-year National Football League career through the 2012-13 season.
While Rosen's law office did not return phone calls seeking comment, an attorney for Lewis declined to comment on the case.
The lawsuit says that the fiasco began with Rosen's plans to open an entertainment complex through his business MVP Lanes LLC.
With Rosen's assurances that Lewis' money "would not be touched," "Lewis agreed to lend his name and likeness to the project," according to the complaint.
Those assurances went out the window in 2010, however, when MVP needed financing for the project, according to the complaint.
Lewis says Rosen had him sign certain documents without explaining what they were. The documents proved to create a personal line of credit for Lewis, "from which Rosen and MBP had the ability to obtain the sum of approximately $1.5 million without Lewis's knowledge or approval," according to the complaint.
Rosen allegedly made a host of promises to Lewis about the deal, saying he had "investors lined up to provide long-term financing for the project," and "that Rosen would personally and unconditionally guarantee Lewis against any and all financial losses related to the proposed transaction."
Lewis says Rosen knew he would not be able to satisfy those financial obligations, but that he nevertheless claimed the loan would be repaid in under a year.
A series of letters that Rosen provided furthermore advised "Lewis that MVP would pay all interest due to the bank on the contemplated line of credit," and that Lewis would get "additional interest on the monies to be loaned once the entertainment complex commenced business and MVP began to generate earnings," according to the complaint.
Lewis says he then followed Rosen's unexplained advice to make more deals with the bank, opening up a $2.5 million line of credit, "without his actual knowledge."
It was also "without his actual knowledge" that Lewis executed an authorization that "designated Rosen as his attorney-in-fact, with full and unlimited power and authority to act for Lewis in all matters in connection with Lewis's accounts held by the bank," the complaint states.
Lewis says he signed all those documents "without reading" or comprehending them based on his "trust in Rosen as his friend, attorney and advisor."
When Rosen informed Lewis in 2011 that the project needed another $200,000, Lewis learned that the bank had months earlier advanced $1.5 million to him under the credit agreement, and that Rosen transferred that money to an MVP account.
With Rosen's assurances that MVP was close to success and that long-term financing to finish the project was at hand, Lewis authorized the $200,000 loan through the bank, according to the complaint.
Lewis says Rosen and MVP stopped making interest payments on the $1.5 loan million in 2013, however, leaving him on the hook to avoid default.
"MVP is now out of business, and the project is defunct," Lewis says, but $1.7 million advanced for MVP's benefit remains unpaid.
Lewis seeks punitive damages for legal malpractice, breach of contract, fraud and other claims. He is represented by Steven Freeman with Freeman, Wolfe & Greenbaum of Towson, Md.
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