Video clip shows father negotiating deal

Updated: December 1, 2006, 2:25 PM ET
Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Richard Williams falsely represented himself as having authority to commit his daughters Venus and Serena to play in a "Battle of the Sexes" match, a promoter suing them all testified Friday.

Promoters Carol Clarke and Keith Rhodes allege that Richard Williams agreed to a contract to have his daughters play in the 2001 match. The promoters claim they lost millions of dollars when the sisters reneged.

The plaintiffs' attorneys played a video clip for jurors showing Richard Williams negotiating the deal with Clarke. In the video, taken by Richard Williams, he tells Clarke that Venus and Serena are "well aware of what I am doing."

Richard Williams later testified he was lying.

Clarke said she took Williams at his word and moved forward with the event.

The sisters have testified that he has never been their manager and didn't have the authority to commit them to such an event. Both sisters have also said they would never have agreed to play in the match.

The plaintiffs' attorneys have showed jurors copies of tax returns for the sisters and their father that show hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to Richard Williams for coaching and management fees.

Attorneys for the sisters and their father claim the payments were mischaracterized for tax-deduction purposes and that Richard Williams was paid merely for coaching services.

Richard Williams acknowledged drawing up terms of a potential contract for the 2001 event, but he insists he told promoters they would have to go through the IMG sports agency, which represents Venus and Serena, to complete any agreement.

Clarke testified Friday that Williams made no such mention. She was expected to continue testifying throughout the day.

The promoters claim the tournament could have made about $45 million, of which 80 percent was to go to Richard Williams' company.

A first trial in the case ended in a mistrial in December. Jurors have the option of finding Richard Williams alone liable. They could also find the sisters and their father liable or dismiss the allegations.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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