Dez Bryant faces second lawsuit
One day after a civil lawsuit was filed against Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant saying he owed $246,000 worth of jewelry to a New York-based company, another civil lawsuit has emerged against him and his adviser David Wells.
Eleow Hunt, a Colleyville, Texas, jeweler and ticket broker, said Bryant hasn't paid for jewelry and tickets to sporting events or repaid personal loans that collectively total in excess of $600,000, according to a court filing from Tarrant County.
The lawsuit says that Bryant, who was a sophomore at Oklahoma State when the spending spree allegedly began, was supposed to repay Hunt when he signed either an NFL or promotional contract, whichever came first. Bryant and Wells signed 17 receipts from January 2009 to July 2010, the lawsuit said. The longest wait between purchases was 2½ months.
Attached to the lawsuit are copies of receipts for jewelry that Hunt said was made for the receiver and hasn't been paid for. The items include everything from a "custom Cartier diamond watch" to a "white gold diamond dog tag set" and "custom diamond engagement ring." The receipts for more than 40 pieces of jewelry total $588,500.
Hunt also claims he loaned Wells $26,000 to cover Bryant's expenses and to provide him with spending money before he was drafted. The lawsuit says Wells repaid $15,000.
Also, the lawsuit alleges Bryant owes $15,850 in unpaid sporting event tickets. Bryant was given 10 tickets worth $5,750 for the Cowboys' 2009 regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles. Bryant also got six tickets worth $3,750 for the Cowboys' playoff victory over the Eagles that same season. Cowboys games were not the only ones Bryant was given tickets for. He received four tickets to watch the Mavericks play the Cleveland Cavaliers in December 2009. The cost of the tickets totaled $2,500, according to the lawsuit.
"Mr. Hunt sells custom-made jewelry to athletes and entertainers," Hunt's attorney, Beth Ann Blackwood, said. "Mr. Bryant says he would pay and hasn't and it finally resulted in filing a lawsuit."
It was not immediately clear if the NCAA or Oklahoma State was aware of the lawsuit. Bryant had already run afoul of NCAA rules in 2009, being ruled ineligible for lying to investigators about having lunch with Deion Sanders.
And this isn't Bryant's first controversy as a pro. He reacted badly when veteran Roy Williams asked him to carry his pads in Bryant's first training camp. He ended up getting stuck picking up the tab for a $54,896 dinner with teammates. A Dolphins executive was also criticized for asking in a pre-draft interview whether Bryant's mother was a prostitute. And just last week, he had a run-in with an off-duty police officer at a Dallas-area mall over someone in his group having sagging pants.
Hunt says he has dealt with Wells in the past and the pair had a successful relationship with Wells' cousin, former Texas Tech wide receiver and current San Francisco 49ers wideout Michael Crabtree. Hunt said he has known Wells since the late 1990s.
Bryant's attorney, state Sen. Royce West, declined comment on the specifics in the lawsuits, but noted they are "sheer allegations."
"What we're seeing is Dez Bryant being singled out," West said. "There are lawsuits. They will be resolved."
Wells declined to comment, as did the Cowboys.
The two lawsuits that have emerged in the past two days total over $850,000, not including damages or legal fees.
Last season with the Cowboys, Bryant made $2.84 million in base salaries and bonuses. He also received an undetermined amount from Under Armour and other income from personal appearances.
Bryant is scheduled to receive a base salary of $1.1 million this year with a $1 million roster bonus. He cannot receive the roster bonus until the NFL lockout ends. He will receive his base salary over a 17-week span starting in September.
The latest lawsuit was filed last year, but a motion filed last week by another of Bryant's attorneys, Veretta Frazier, asked the court to move the lawsuit from Tarrant County to Dallas County. Blackwood responded to the motion by saying the case should remain in Tarrant County.
Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.