Former Hokie Williams Is Sued
Friday, November 17, 2006
Former Virginia Tech cornerback Jimmy Williams accepted more than $50,000 worth of merchandise, services and cash while at Virginia Tech from the account of Carl La Mondue, a Norfolk lawyer, according to a lawsuit filed by La Mondue earlier this month. La Mondue is suing Williams and his father, James Williams Sr., because he claims the Williamses failed to repay him.
La Mondue is suing for $55,019 plus interest for a series of purchases and withdrawals he claims were made by Williams, now with the Atlanta Falcons, or his father.
The suit, which was first reported in yesterday's editions of the Virginian-Pilot, lists a series of transfers and withdrawals made from La Mondue's account by the Williamses for clothes, cash, a tattoo and several other items from Nov. 24, 2004, to Nov. 13, 2005. According to the timetable in the suit, Williams was finishing his junior season when he started receiving money and finishing his senior season when he stopped receiving money.
Phone messages left for Williams and his agent, Ethan Locke, were not returned. A secretary from La Mondue's law office said he was out of town on a trial and unable to be reached.
Williams told the Daily Press of Newport News, Va. yesterday he did not receive any of the payments La Mondue's suit alleges and that La Mondue had been threatening litigation for some time.
"He's got no records," Williams told the paper. ". . . So, what are we talking about right here? He has no records. All he has is what he's saying. It's ludicrous, man.
"I'm not worried about it. I'm good. The truth will come out."
If Williams did accept money, it could result in an NCAA rules violation for Virginia Tech. The severity of the violation would depend on who knew about Williams receiving the funds. If anyone in the Virginia Tech football program knew about money exchanging hands, it could be a serious violation, Virginia Tech director of compliance Tim Parker said. If not, the NCAA would treat the case in the same manner it did Reggie Bush's alleged transgressions while at Southern California -- the school would receive only a secondary violation and would incur little harm.
"If money exchanged hands while he was at Tech, and if no one knew about, and it was not reasonable that anyone should have known about it, generally the institution is pretty much blameless," Parker said. "If someone at our school knew about, that makes the situation different."
Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Jim Weaver said he knew little about the case, and the school is launching an investigation and cooperating with the NCAA.
"To my knowledge, at this juncture, no one knew," Weaver said. "But it's too early in the investigation.
"We know very little about this. We're trying to learn as much as we can as quickly as we can. We're working cooperatively with the NCAA. I don't know anything else."
La Mondue appears to have no connection to Virginia Tech, meaning he would not be considered a "booster" by the NCAA. La Mondue graduated from Purdue University, according to his Web site, and earned a law degree from Regent University School of Law. The Web site also lists La Mondue as a former U.S. Naval Officer and assistant commonwealth's attorney.
La Mondue lists sports and entertainment law as one of his specializations on his Web site and writes, "an interesting trend in sports law is the increasing use of lawyers rather than agents to negotiate athletic contracts. The La Mondue Law Firm is ready to assist entertainers and athletes negotiate and prepare contracts for rights and services, resolve disputes, orchestrate mergers and acquisitions, and counsel clients about the customs and practices of the entertainment industries."
On the same day he filed his suit against Virginia Tech's Williams, La Mondue filed another suit against former Memphis basketball player Shawne Williams (no relation), claiming similar payments that were not reimbursed. Those charges were dismissed Wednesday. Shawne Williams is currently a rookie with the Indiana Pacers.
Virginia Tech officials were uniform in their position that no one within the athletic department or football program knew about Williams receiving any money.
"That's between Jimmy Williams and [the] lawyer," director of football operations John Bellein said. "It's news to everybody around here."