I’ve been encouraged by partisans on both sides to take a look at recent legal pleadings in the federal court lawsuit between the Razorback Foundation and former Hog football coach Bret Bielema over its refusal to pay $7 million remaining on an $11 million buyout agreement because he didn’t try hard enough to get a well-paying job that would have offset the foundation’s obligation.
The latest fireworks are these:
Last Tuesday, Bielema’s attorneys, led by Tom Mars, made the relatively rare request for so-called Rule 11 sanctions against the Razorback Foundation’s attorneys. Stripped of all the legal language, the motion essentially asserts that the Razorback attorneys made unfounded allegations of fraud by Bielema.
The Foundation’s lawyers, led by Marshall Ney of the Friday firm, fired back that day with a recitation of facts they believe substantiate their allegations, including that they had witnesses to support their position. They also took swipes at Tom Mars as a publicity hound.
Monday, Mars responded to the response, saying in part:
Consistent with the Foundation’s practice of using pleadings as a platform to rant and disparage Coach Bielema and his counsel, the Response begins and ends with contemptuous mudslinging toward Bielema’s counsel.
The battle has brought another familiar name into the fight, that of former Razorback assistant coach Barry Lunney Jr.
The Foundation had asserted that Lunney “had personal knowledge of Bielema’s statement that he would not pursue the head coaching position at KSU.” This would have been a big-paying job that would have gone a long way toward offsetting the foundation obligation.
Bielema’s attorney said he interviewed Lunney last Thursday and Lunney disputed the Foundation’s assertion. The response included an exhibit with what are said to be text messages from Lunney.
And a snip:
There’s much more in all these pleadings about lawyer conduct, Bielema’s job hunts and other characters familiar and unfamiliar to football fans.
I’ll leave it at that. But if Veterans Day leaves you with time on your hands and you like Razorback intrigue and legal wrangling, I’ve paid the federal court fee so you can read the documents.