Williams sisters ordered to turn over tax returns

Updated: September 15, 2006, 9:40 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press