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Volume 24 No. 116
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Names In The News

In Winston-Salem, Richard Craver reports BB&T is "requesting the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by 16 current and former NFL players involving disputed financial transactions made within a south Florida bank that BB&T bought" in '12. The players said in their complaint that BankAtlantic allowed financial management firm Pro Sports Financial "to open new accounts in their names via forged signatures" and to withdraw nearly $53M "without their permission or knowledge." The plaintiffs include 49ers RB FRANK GORE and former NFLers JEVON KEARSE, RAY LEWIS and FRED TAYLOR. Kearse is "listed as having lost the most money" at $7.96M. Plaintiffs' attorney ANDREW KAGAN said "all of the transactions occurred before the purchase" of BankAtlantic by BB&T (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 1/9).

TIME FOR A CHANGE: MDC Partnes has acquired a majority interst in language and messaging consultancy Luntz Global. Agency Founder FRANK LUNTZ has been named MDC Partners Chief Langauge Strategist. Luntz, along with his management team, will retain a significant equity interest in the firm. Luntz Global has consulted with several pro sports leagues and two dozen pro teams (MDC Partners). Luntz is "well known for his political resume, but politics hasn't been his principal business for some time." He "goes to as many NFL games as he can," where he sits in the suite belonging to former client and Panthers Owner JERRY RICHARDSON, "with whom he has developed a close rapport." Luntz "would also like to break into Hollywood as a consultant, but he can't get his calls returned" (, 1/6).

PARENTAL GUIDANCE: The new film "DRAFT DAY" starring KEVIN COSTNER "has pulled off a PG-13 rating" after it was "initially slapped with an R rating for 'brief strong language'" by the MPAA. Director IVAN REITMAN and Lionsgate "successfully appealed the rating" rather than "trimming the film," which opens April 11 (, 1/8).

CHARITY STRIPE: Jaguars K JOSH SCOBEE and Jacksonville-area Walmart stores today will launch the company's month-long Defeat Hunger Bowl food drive benefiting Second Harvest North Florida (, 1/8)....Bobcats Sports & Entertainment and its Cats Care Foundation yesterday made a $140,000 donation to the Novant Health Community Care Cruiser at Bruns Academy in Charlotte (Bobcats).

NAMES: Vikings owners ZYGI and MARK WILF and Vice Chair LEONARD WILF were among defendants yesterday who "formally appealed a lower-court ruling" that ordered them to pay $103M in damages stemming from a New Jersey apartment complex lawsuit (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/9)....Avalanche LW GABE LANDESKOG has filmed a video for the "You Can Play" project, which is "dedicated to changing the culture of locker rooms and sports venues to include all athletes and fans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity" (DENVER POST, 1/9)....MLS Red Bulls F THIERRY HENRY appears in the January edition of GQ, where he is asked to translate the looks and styles of France’s contemporary dresswear “to the streets and bistros of his current home,” N.Y. (GQ, 1/'14 issue)….The Friars Club yesterday announced that comedian JEFF GARLIN will assume the role of Roastmaster at this year’s Friars Club Roast on Jan. 30 honoring CBS NFL analyst and WFAN-AM host BOOMER ESIASON (Friars Club)….Tennis player VENUS WILLIAMS listed her three-bedroom, two-bathroom Hollywood Hills home for $1.799M. She originally purchased the property in '05 for $1.9M (, 1/8)….Heat G DWYANE WADE’s fiancée, actress GABRIELLE UNION, is “pregnant and due this summer” (, 1/8).