MICHAEL AVENATTI CHARGED WITH EXTORTING NIKE... Arrested for Wire and Bank Fraud
Michael Avenatti has been arrested and charged with trying to extort $20 million out of Nike.
The feds claim Avenatti told Nike's lawyers if they didn't pay him between $15 million and $25 million he would hold a news conference on the eve of Nike's quarterly earnings call and the start of March Madness and announce allegations of misconduct by employees at the shoe company.
According to the complaint, Avenatti demanded Nike hire him to conduct an internal investigation for the enormous salary.
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York says Avenatti was representing a client who was the coach of an AAU Youth Club basketball team.
Prosecutors say Avenatti gave Nike an option ... don't hire him but pay $22.5 million to resolve the dispute and buy his silence.
The complaint says Avenatti claimed the AAU coach had evidence that one or more Nike employees had funded payments to the families of top high school basketball players and attempted to conceal those payments.
According to prosecutors, there was a call on March 20 between Avenatti and Nike during which Avenatti said, "I'm not f**king around with this, and I'm not continuing to play games ... you guys know enough now to know you've got a serious problem ... So if you guys think that you know, we're gonna negotiate a million five, and you're gonna hire us to do an internal investigation, but it's gonna be capped at 3 or 5 or 7 million dollars, like let's just be done."
Prosecutors say then Avenatti makes a threat ... "I'll go and I'll go take 10 billion dollars off your client's market cap. But I'm not f**king around."
The U.S. Attorney says the call was recorded and there's video of a meeting between Avenatti and Nike attorneys on March 21. In that meeting, Avenatti allegedly said, "If [Nike] wants to have one confidential settlement and we're done, they can buy that for $22.5 million and we're done."
During that same meeting, prosecutors say Avenatti set a March 25 deadline and said, "If this is not papered on Monday, we are done. I don't want to hear about somebody on a bike trip. I don't want to hear that ... somebody's grandmother passed away or ... the dog ate my homework, I don't want to hear -- none of it is going to go anywhere unless somebody was killed in a plane crash."
Avenatti allegedly told Nike he had them by "the balls."
That's not the end of it ... Avenatti was just arrested for more federal crimes ... bank and wire fraud. The U.S. Attorney in the Central District of California claims Avenatti embezzled client money to cover expenses for his coffee corporation which operates Tully's Coffee stores in CA and Washington.
Nike says it "will not be extorted or hide information that is relevant to a government investigation. Nike has been cooperating with the government's investigation into NCAA basketball for over a year."
DR. DRE DAUGHTER SAYS DAD PUSHED ME.... To Enroll at USC
Dr. Dre had good reason to delete his post throwing shade on Lori Loughlin and her daughters ... because, just like Lori, it looks like Dre was pushing his own daughter to become a USC student.
Dre's daughter, Truly Young, posted last May, "Dad pushing me to go to USC." Her expression seems to tell the story.
He caused a big commotion over the weekend when he posted a pic of him and his daughter holding an acceptance letter from USC with the caption, "My daughter got accepted into USC all on her own. No jail time!!!"
Dre took the post down after getting a rash of criticism ... as we reported, he and Jimmy Iovine donated $70 MILLION to the University. They funded and created the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. It was established to promote entrepreneurship, computer science and engineering, audio and visual design, and the arts.
This is not to say Truly didn't get admitted on the merits, but it certainly casts a shadow given the enormous donation.