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Williams sisters ordered to turn over tax returns

9/15/2006 - Tennis

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A judge ordered Venus and Serena
Williams to turn over tax returns to attorneys
representing promoters who contend they backed out of an exhibition
match.

Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Winikoff said Thursday
that portions of the tax returns are relevant to a
multimillion-dollar breach of contract lawsuit the sisters and
their father, Richard Williams, face for pulling out of a 2001
tournament.

Promoters Carol Clarke and Keith Rhodes, principals in the CCKR
company, allege in the lawsuit against the women, that their father
committed them to play in a 2001 "Battle of the Sexes" match and
they backed out of the deal.

"We believe these tax returns will say that he is in fact their
business manager," CCKR attorney Judy Hyman said. "We've already
seen that in Richard Williams' tax returns."

The sisters' lawyer said the tax returns are irrelevant.

"There is nothing unusual about two successful daughters paying
their father for coaching and for creating them," F. Malcolm
Cunningham said. "Those payments have nothing to do with whether
or not the dad had the authority to commit them to play in a battle
of the sexes."

The case against the sisters initially ended in a mistrial in
December.