The Champions Basketball League, a scammy-seeming startup league that took hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors but has yet to play a single real game after failing to start its season multiple times, is now embroiled in three lawsuits.
Two months ago, league CEO Carl George sued the Big3 league for $250 million, alleging that the CBL failed to get off the ground not because it was mismanaged, but because it had been deliberately sabotaged by the Big3. The Big3 responded by filing a defamation suit against George and the CBL. Now George is being sued for breach of contract by former NBA players Earl Monroe and Henry Bibby, who were both associated with the league.
According to the suit, Monroe signed a contract with with the CBL on Aug. 7, 2016, agreeing to act as president and general manager of the Gotham Ballers—one of the 16 teams that was supposed to play in the CBL—in exchange for a $10,000 monthly salary that was to be paid for 11 months. The suit alleges that Monroe only received his first three payments, and thus is still owed $80,000. According to emails cited in the suit, George attempted to appease Monroe by offering him 25,000 essentially worthless shares in the Gotham Ballers. From the suit:
(When the Gotham Ballers were soliciting for investments on a Start Engine page, George gave the team an absurd valuation of $80 million.)
The lawsuit claims that Bibby signed a contract with the CBL on June 16, 2017, agreeing to coach the Phoenix Desert Cats in exchange for a $60,000 salary. The roster for the Desert Cats has yet to be announced, and the suit alleges that instead of paying Bibby $60,000, George tried to give him a stock grant of 50,000 shares.
George told the Wall Street Journal that he didn’t owe any money to Bibby because his team hadn’t been formed yet. Deadspin, however, has obtained a voice mail that George left for Bibby on Oct. 28, 2017, in which he promises to “get a check out” to Bibby. When reached for comment about this voice mail, George replied as follows:
On your question of my voice message to Henry - yes on my leaving him a voice message but here is the rest of the information.
I said I was hopeful to reach and agreement with Big3 (AND I AM AS I CONSIDER WHAT THEY DID HIGHLY DAMAGING TO US - AND TO ALL PLAYERS AND I BELIEVED THEM WHEN THEY SAID THEY WANT WHATS BEST FOR PLAYERS - ITS EXACTLY WHAT THEIR FOUNDERS AND I SPOKE OF WHEN WE AGREED TO ALL OF THIS TO BEGIN WITH).
And in the Call I believed we were still planning on using Henry Bibby as a coach in the q1 exhibition games - so yes to his being employed on the date of the call.
By the way I called him 3 times with no return call, and the letter from his lawyer Alex Touboul appears to have been ignored as well.
We have a lot to share in court.
The suit also mentions that when seeking to impress potential investors and celebrity owners, the CBL falsely claimed that celebrities like Tom Brady and Jimmy Kimmel had committed to participating in the league as owners. Deadspin has obtained an email sent by a league representative to a potential celebrity owner in which Kimmel, Brady, Floyd Mayweather, Ice-T, Michael Strahan, “Marc” Wahlberg, T.I., and French Montana are listed as “some of the celebrities who have committed already.”
Touting tenuous or non-existent relationships with celebrities is a common refrain for George. In emails I exchanged with him over the summer, he told me that Nicki Minaj was slated to perform at halftime of the league’s inaugural game. In this embarrassingly soft profile he received from The Ringer, he claimed that it was actually T.I. and Cardi B who would be performing at the game. He also insisted to the writer of that piece that he was close to reaching an agreement to make Floyd Mayweather Jr. a celebrity owner.
Bibby and Monroe are also suing George for using their likenesses to promote the league, thus harming their reputations. In one instance, the league used a picture of Bibby in a promotional Instagram post weeks after Bibby had sent George a letter stating that the league was in breach of contract:
The suit asks that Bibby and Monroe be paid the $60,000 and $80,000 they say they are respectively owed, and also that they each be paid $500,000 for the misappropriation of their likenesses.
When asked for general comments on this latest lawsuit, George sent Deadspin the following email:
Yes, it is a splinter filed by the same lawyers who are themselves owner of the big 3. So pretty incestous at all levels.
1. They repeat the big3's arguments already proved wrong.
2. Bibby was looking to collect $60,000 for work never done. We paid him for all work he did. He did not coach this summer.
3. We think its pathetic and we are happy to have our day in court.
4. Sad to see Earl being used this way. As recently as 30 days ago he had agreed to the per appearance approach and to be involved in 2018.
GARGOS FILES ANOTHER BALONEY LAWSUIT TO AVOID REAL LAWSUIT
is how i think of it.
In this article he is called a sunstantial owner of the big3.
You can read the full lawsuit below: