SBJ/February 10 - 16, 2003/Labor Agents

NFL agent, players linked to bank lawsuit

Two NFL players and agent Sean Jones have agreed to court judgments against them totaling nearly $2 million, and a third player has leveled what may be the most damaging charges yet against the prominent agent.

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban said in a sworn declaration that Jones "fraudulently induced" him into participating in a $1 million real estate loan, and that he never signed an application or financial statement for the loan.

Jones refused to comment for publication.

Terry Ray, Ekuban's Dallas-based attorney, said he and Ekuban spent about six hours meeting with FBI agents last month. "I can tell you the FBI made it very clear that there is an ongoing criminal bank fraud investigation and they are looking at specific transactions," Ray said. The FBI agents are trying to "sort out who was the victim and who was the criminal," he said.

The FBI wouldn't comment on whether it is conducting an investigation.

Shaun Williams of the New York Giants and Brian Williams of the Detroit Lions, both with Jones, agreed to judgments in a federal court in Houston that they must repay more than $990,000 each after Whitney National Bank sued them for defaulting on real estate loans.

Ekuban's case is currently in court.

Marvin Rader, a lawyer who represented both Williamses last year, said both of those players were also interviewed by the FBI about the loans. All of the loans were part of a plan to convert Houston area apartments into condos.

Brian Williams' and Shaun Williams' current lawyer did not return phone calls.

Ekuban recently fired Jones and Marvin Demoff as his contract advisers, Ray said. A letter was sent to Jones, who has represented Ekuban since he was a first-round pick in the 1999 NFL draft, dismissing him and demanding a full accounting of the Whitney bank loan and other business dealings he has with the player, Ray said.

Ray said he has no information to indicate that Demoff was involved in the real estate loan or other financial dealings involving Jones. Demoff said he first heard about the loan through a letter Ray sent to him firing him. Demoff said he was largely responsible for negotiating Ekuban's 1999 contract but has had little contact with him in recent years.

Ekuban, in a November 2002 declaration, said he was fraudulently induced into participating in the loan by the concerted actions of Jones, Jerome Karam, who was the property's seller, and Whitney National Bank vice president David Ranostaj.

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