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Florida marketing agency sues Zion Williamson for $100 million for breach of contract

The marketing agency Zion Williamson signed with in April but later sued to end his relationship with has filed a lawsuit in return against him and his current agent seeking $100 million in damages for breach of contract.

According to the Associated Press, Gina Ford and Prime Sports filed the action in a Florida court on Wednesday.

Williamson is expected to be selected No. 1 overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in Thursday night’s NBA draft.

The suit comes six days after Williamson, who was a star forward at Duke last season, sued Ford and Prime Sports saying the contract he signed on April 20 was invalid because it wasn’t in compliance with the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Agents Act.

Ford, Prime Sports’ president, or her agency are not registered in North Carolina to represent athletes. Williamson signed a deal with her to pursue marketing and endorsement opportunities.

He has since signed with Creative Artists Agency LLC to handle contract negotiations and his endorsement and marketing deals. One of his two primary agents at CAA, Austin Brown, has a roster of NBA clients that includes Triangle natives T.J. Warren, Jerome Robinson and Devonte Graham, as well as stars like Dwyane Wade and Pau Gasol.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Ford’s attorneys said she “has worked tremendously hard to build Prime Sports Marketing into a competitive marketing and branding consulting firm while raising a family. She’s deeply saddened and disappointed that what was once a promising business with Mr. Williamson has now resorted to legal action.”

Jeffrey Klein, one of Williamson’s attorneys, declined comment on the new lawsuit Thursday morning through a spokesman. Klein said he stood by the comments he made upon filing Williamson’s lawsuit against Prime Sports last week.

At that time, Klein said the fact that the contract Williamson signed April 20 was in violation of numerous areas of N.C.’s agent law, and that Ford isn’t registered in the state, makes that deal null and void.

“Prime Sports Marketing’s actions towards Mr. Williamson blatantly violated the North Carolina statute specifically designed to protect student athletes,” Klein said in the June 13 statement. “Mr. Williamson properly exercised his rights under the law to void his business dealings with Prime Sports Marketing. Prime Sports Marketing’s continued threats against Mr. Williamson made necessary the filing of this lawsuit.”

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An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.
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