Beasley’s suit says he and Hill “were close” but said that Hill also remained a close friend of Malone.
“Mike needed a brother and a father in his life,” Hill said in an interview this summer. “Curtis was the father, and I became the big brother figure. He would feel comfortable opening up to me.”
Hill said he was surprised that Smith moved to Kansas to be near Beasley.
Malone encouraged Smith to move to Kansas with Beasley “to, among other things, keep other agents away from him,” the suit says. In June 2007, a man whom Malone had introduced to Smith — but whom the suit does not name — paid for Smith’s moving expenses to Kansas and made a “lump-sum payment to cover the first six months of her rent while she was there,” the suit alleges.
In January 2008, the suit claims, the man telephoned Smith and told her that he wanted to be Beasley’s financial adviser. Smith called Malone and informed him about the conversation. Malone said “something dismissive about him and told Ms. Smith to be at ease,” the suit says.
Shortly afterward, according to the suit, Bell called Smith and asked her the amount of her rent and her car payment and told her that both payments would be taken care of. Smith said they were paid for, and that she never made a rent or car payment during Beasley’s entire freshman year as a player for Kansas State during the 2007-08 season, the suit says.
Hill said he was unaware of Smith receiving payments from anyone.
“No, Fatima had a full-time job,” Hill said. “It was not like she moved to Kansas and stopped working. She continued to work. She had a family, so I never assumed. She didn’t buy a house. She rented a house, which later some kids rented. So I didn’t think it was extra. Normal living.”
NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes from receiving any inducement from agents. The Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act, a federal law passed by Congress in 2004, prohibits “providing anything of value to a student-athlete or anyone associated with the student-athlete before the student-athlete enters into an agency contract, including any consideration in the form of a loan, or acting in the capacity of a guarantor or co-guarantor for any debt.”
After Smith and Malone discussed her interaction with Bell, the suit claims, Malone told Smith that Bell had “taken care of [Malone] for years and that now that he was in the position to offer Beasley, the best player in the draft, to [Bell], he was going to do that. Malone acknowledged that Bell was not the best agent, but he stated that he was not the worst, either.”
Malone told Smith that he “felt he owed it to [Bell] to deliver Beasley,” the suit says.
Hill said he was not aware that Malone, or anyone, tried to steer Beasley to Bell. Hill recalled Beasley meeting with other agents during his selection process.