Drew Brees and his wife bought millions of dollars worth of jewelry that a San Diego merchant assured them would appreciate in value. Instead, the Saints quarterback alleged in a recent lawsuit, he later discovered he was vastly overcharged for the items, and he wants at least $9 million in damages.
Brees and his wife of 15 years, Brittany, reportedly filed the lawsuit Monday in California Superior Court against Vahid Moradi of CJ Charles Jewelers. Moradi had become close to the Breeses while the quarterback spent the early part of his career playing for the Chargers, who moved from San Diego to Los Angeles last year.
The relationship continued after Brees joined the Saints in 2006, and from 2012 to 2016, the lawsuit alleged, he and his wife spent approximately $15 million on diamonds as investments. Those purchases included a blue diamond ring for which Moradi charged nearly $8.2 million, and which an expert appraiser subsequently told the couple was worth closer to $3.6 million.
That appraiser, hired by the Breeses after their financial adviser suggested they submit their diamonds for an independent evaluation, said they had been overcharged by a total of around $9 million. The lawsuit claimed that after being confronted by Brees, Moradi admitted to selling the diamonds at “a substantial markup” but pointed to a market that was as “weak as it has ever been.”
“Moradi insisted unabashedly that he had done nothing wrong because he charged plaintiffs the price at which Moradi expected the jewelry could be resold in 10 to 15 years because Moradi knew [the Breeses] wanted a ‘long-term investment,’ ” the lawsuit stated (via The Advocate).
“Drew Brees aggressively purchased multimillion dollar pieces of jewelry. Years later, claiming to suffer ‘cash flow problems,’ he tried to bully my client into undoing the transactions,” Moradi’s attorney, Eric M. George, said Tuesday in a statement (via TMZ Sports).
“Mr. Brees’s behavior and his belief that he was wronged because the jewelry did not appreciate in value as quickly as he hoped both demonstrate a lack of integrity and contradict basic principles of both economics and the law.”
The lawsuit accused Moradi of fraud, breach of contract and financial responsibility, as well as violations of California business regulations. The Breeses are also seeking repayment of $244,000 they said they wired to Moradi for a watch they ultimately decided not to purchase, while he allegedly said he would apply the amount as a store credit.
Brees said Moradi was recommended to him in 2003 by a friend in San Diego, after the quarterback expressed interest in watches that he could wear but which would also increase in value over time. Brees and his wife then began buying watches and other items, both for themselves and as gifts, over a period of several years from Moradi.
According to the lawsuit, Brees became interested in the investment diamonds as “an extravagant gift” for his wife as their 10th anniversary approached. The 2009 Super Bowl MVP and 11-time Pro Bowler signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Saints last month, a pact set to push him well over $200 million in earnings over an NFL career that began in 2001.
“He should restrict his game-playing to the football field,” George said of Brees, “and refrain from bullying honest, hard-working businessmen like my client.”
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