Dallas’ Dez Bryant Faces Not One but Two Lawsuits

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:18 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Mar 28, 2011 4:27 PM CDT

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-Deion Sanders says Dez Bryant ''Needs Help''
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Oklahoma Sports Staff and Wire Reports

DALLAS— Just one week after a lawsuit was filed against Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant for $246,000 worth of unpaid jewelry bills, another person has sued the rookie taking the collective total to more than $850,000.

According to the Associated Press, Bryant now faces to lawsuits totaling $861,350, plus interest and attorneys fees for unpaid jewelry bills, NFL and NBA tickets and loans that all began before he signed a professional contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

The lawsuits state Bryant loaded up on gold and diamond jewelry plus tickets to watch the Cowboys and Mavericks in the playoffs, and LeBron James playing in Dallas. And he allegedly got it all on credit with the understanding he'd settle up once he signed his first pro contract.

Now, eight months after Bryant struck a deal that included $8.5 million guaranteed from the Cowboys, he's been sued by people who say they are tired of waiting to get paid.

Bryant's attorney, state Sen. Royce West, declined comment on the specifics in the lawsuits, but noted they are "sheer allegations."

"What we're seeing is Dez Bryant being singled out," West said. "There are lawsuits. They will be resolved."

The alleged shopping spree began before Bryant's junior season at Oklahoma State as all receipts in the case are dated between June 2009 and June 2010.

In his lawsuit, Eleow Hunt of suburban Colleyville said he extended a line of credit to Bryant on the request of David Wells, the player's adviser and a co-defendant in the case. The year before, Wells had allegedly done the same thing for his cousin, Michael Crabtree, then a standout receiver at Texas Tech who went on to become a first-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers.

In both deals, the tab was due once the player cashed in with an NFL team.

"Mr. Crabtree ended up doing exactly what he said he would do, so my client felt pretty comfortable about how this worked," said Hunt's attorney, Beth Ann Blackwood. "Both (Bryant and Wells) continually assured him up to about last July that he was going to get paid. Then Mr. Bryant dropped off the radar screen and Mr. Wells about a month later. Neither would respond to my client."

Hunt is seeking repayment for $588,500 in watches, earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry; $15,850 for NBA and NFL tickets; and $11,000 in loans. Wells has repaid $15,000 of the original loan amount, the suit says.

In the second lawsuit, the New York jeweler -- A+A Diamonds, doing business as Rafaello and Co. -- is seeking $246,000 for custom diamond-encrusted jewelry. The company's attorney, Mike Bower, said "we are working with Mr. Bryant's counsel to work out a resolution."

He purchased items on four different days last year, spending as much as $144,000 on Feb. 8, 2010, according to court documents.

Hunt's lawsuit was filed in September, and amended last week, before the mall incident where Bryant was escorted out of a Dallas mall for an outburst with an off-duty police officer.

"We didn't approach the firestorm," Blackwood said. "The firestorm approached us."

That incident stemmed from him and his friends wearing their pants too low, led to him being banned from the mall for a few days.

In the fallout from that, Deion Sanders said he and Bryant were no longer on speaking terms. Bryant was playing at Oklahoma State when Sanders tried befriending him; Bryant later lied to the NCAA about having had a meal with Sanders, which led to him being suspended for much of his final season in college.

Bryant's attorney says his client is being singled out because of his high profile.

This is isn't Bryant's first controversy as a pro. He reacted badly when veteran Roy Williams asked him to carry his pads in Bryant's first training camp. He ended up getting stuck picking up the tab for a $54,896 dinner with teammates.

Last season with the Cowboys, Bryant made $2.84 million in base salaries and bonuses. He also received an undetermined amount from a sponsorship with Under Armour and other income from personal appearances.

Bryant is slated to receive a base salary of $1.1 million this year with a $1 million roster bonus. He cannot receive the roster bonus until the NFL lockout ends. He will receive his base salary over a 17-week span starting in September.

Oklahoma Sports will update this story as more details become available.