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Monday, May 27, 2024 | Back issues
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Sports Agents Fight Over Cuban Pitcher

(CN) - One sports agency has sued another in a fight over Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, a 21-year-old southpaw with a 100 mph fastball. Athletes Premier claims it spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to establish residency outside of Cuba and to market Chapman, and that Hendricks Sports Management paid bribes to lure him away.

As a result, Chapman severed his ties with Athletes Premier and signed up with Hendricks, according to the complaint in Suffolk County Court, Boston.

Chapman has been a hot commodity for pitching-starved teams since he defected in July. Athletes Premier claims that Chapman agreed to pay it a percentage of what he made after signing a contract with a Major League team.

Athletes Premier claims it arranged for Chapman to obtain residency in Andorra; hired a security force to make sure he wasn't kidnapped by Cuban authorities; arranged for Chapman to be legally employed in the United States; provided him with housing, food and clothing; hired a public relations firm to market him; set an unprecedented demand for his services; and negotiated with several teams and procured several substantial offers.

Chapman cut his ties with Athletes Premier on Nov. 16. Athletes Premier President Edwin Mejia checked Chapman's cell phone records the next day and found numerous calls and texts from Hendricks agent Rodney Fernandez, along with calls from an unnamed Hendricks client, according to the complaint.

Athletes Premier claims that its investigation found that Hendricks made false statements and gave bribes to Chapman.

Athletes Premier seeks damages for interference with a contract. It is represented by Gary Greenberg with Greenberg Traurig.

Chapman remained a free agent as of press time.

Hendricks' representatives did not return a phone call.

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