21-Year NBA Veteran Kevin Garnett Sues Accounting Firm For More Than $77 Million
Kevin Garnett played in the National Basketball Association for a whopping twenty-one years, performing for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. He earned an astounding $334 million before calling it quits.
Unfortunately, a large chunk of that money Garnett accumulated over the years was squandered by his advisors, says Garnett in a lawsuit that was filed in August. Garnett is seeking more than $77 million as a result of what he claims to be professional malpractice and breaches of professional duty.
The named defendants are certified public accountaint Michael A. Wertheim and accounting firm Welenken CPAs, based in Louisville, Kentucky. The key contention is that the defendants had actual knowledge that Garnett’s financial advisor was misappropriating his money and failed to alert Garnett. Even worse, they worked in complicity with the financial advisor to conceal the activity, states the Complaint.
Garnett’s financial advisor was Charles A. Banks, who also worked with NBA great Tim Duncan and was sentenced to federal prison in June 2017 based on a finding of fraud with regard to his management of Duncan’s finances. Banks also settled a civil lawsuit, requiring him to pay Duncan back $7.5 million of the more than $20 million Duncan claims to have lost based on Banks’ actions.
Garnett says that he and Banks went into business together under an arrangement that Banks would match Garnett’s contributions dollar-for-dollar. Ultimately, Garnett discovered that Banks was not matching Garnett’s investments. He also found out that Banks was skimming money from their jointly owned corporate entity’s funds.
Banks was also receiving accounting services from Wertheim and Welenken CPAs, according to Garnett’s lawsuit. Meanwhile, Garnett purportedly put in more than $57 million into the corporate entity he shared with Banks while Banks added a mere $2.5 million. Wertheim allegedly never notified Garnett of the disparity in contributions.
“What became clear after gaining access to Welenken’s records is that Banks intentionally and continuously looted Garnett of his earnings and assets for many years, including the many years that Welenken and Wertheim provided accounting services to Garnett and his business interests,” states the Complaint.
Worst of all, most of the investments made by the corporate entity owned by Garnett and Banks are not worth anything. Thus, Garnett is seeking many millions in relief.
Athletes need to be very careful when they choose their advisors. There are many instances of financial advisors running afoul of the law, including Munish Sood, who recently admitted that he was involved in a conspiracy to bribe college basketball coaches to retain him