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Barry Switzer Responds to Lawsuit

Barry Switzer (AP IMAGE) Barry Switzer (AP IMAGE)

Originally Published: Jan 1, 2010 4:1 PM CDT

Associated Press

NORMAN, Oklahoma -- Former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer says he has fulfilled his obligations in a restaurant venture and that a lawsuit against him by his former partners is without merit.

Former Sooners wrestling coach Stan Abel and a former school wrestler sued Switzer for $187,000 plus damages for their involvement in the Lighthouse Restaurant LLC at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City.

"I have done nothing wrong and have fully honored all of my contractual obligations," Switzer said Wednesday in a statement issued through his attorney, Armando Rosell. "This case is now in the hands of my attorneys and the court. I have great confidence in the legal system and I am confident that the judge and jury will listen to all the facts and fairly decide the case."

Switzer said that as the Switzer's Lighthouse restaurant lost money, Abel and Mozaffar Jahanguiri weren't willing to put more money into the venture that bore Switzer's name. He says he assumed their expenses and took on their liabilities.

"Since the restaurant bore my name, I did not want it to close its doors and default on the obligations to its creditors," Switzer said. "Although I had no obligations to do so, I agreed to pay all past and future expenses and assume all their liabilities as well as other investors. In return, they agreed to assign all of their membership interest in the company to me."

According to Switzer's statement, Abel and Jahanquiri signed documents in May 2000 to assign their interest in the company to him.

Since then, the restaurant has changed its name and focus several times. It is currently known as Lakeside Fish Grill, and Rosell said Switzer remains part of the ownership group.

Switzer and Abel became acquainted when both were successful coaches at Oklahoma. Abel led the Sooners to the NCAA wrestling title in 1974 and four second-place finishes during his 21 years as coach. Under Switzer, Oklahoma won AP football championships in 1974, 1975 and 1985.

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