Miami Herald – Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade has one less ball of uncertainty to spin after a $25 million lawsuit over a failed chain of restaurants ended in a settlement with the plaintiffs. There were actually four lawsuits between Wade and Mark Rodberg and Lauren Hollander, most of which involved Rodberg and Hollander as plaintiffs.
“I think we have an excellent settlement,” said Wade’s attorney Michael Kreitzer, who would not reveal the amount. He did say it was for “an amount far below anything the plaintiffs had asked for at any time in the past.”
One indication of that came after the trial. Highly competitive professional athletes don’t often smile for the camera with their conquerors when they lose, no matter the venue.
“I’m very pleased,” Wade said, according to The Associated Press. “I’m very pleased. Of course I can’t say terms, but I’m smiling, and you know if I smile, it’s a good thing.”
Wade, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Peter Adrien, the jury, plaintiffs, defendants and attorneys posed in the jury box for a group photo taken by the bailiff.
“The plaintiffs approached me about a settlement to put an end to the legal issues involving the restaurant,” Wade said in a statement.
“While my first instinct was to fight in court, I realized a reasonable settlement would allow me to move forward with other priorities.”
The statement continued, saying Wade had “agreed to resolve all of the cases on terms that are very favorable to me and for a sum that is substantially less than ever demanded.”
He said he wanted to focus on his children this summer and the settlement would allow him to do that.
Wade is facing a July 19 custody trial involving his two sons with estranged wide Siovaughn Wade. The couple are divorcing.
For the plaintiffs’ part, “We are pleased to have settled all lawsuits involving Dwyane Wade,” plaintiffs Mark Rodberg and Lauren Hollander said in a press release, read over the phone by their attorney, Richard Bales, Jr.
“Mr. Wade is an honorable businessman, and we regret that our differences caused his strong character to come into question. Although Mr. Wade is no longer part of any of our ventures, we are excited to be moving forward in our efforts to provide an alternative high school for at-risk students in Florida.”
Rodberg and Hollander accused Wade of turning his back on their deal for a chain of sports-themed restaurants bearing Wade’s name and likeness when they wouldn’t increase the 12 percent stake held by Wade and business associate Marcus Andrews.
When another partner, Richard von Houtman, didn’t meet his obligations, the plaintiffs say, Wade and Andrews wanted 30 percent. Only two of the restaurants opened. Neither survived long.
Another suit, to be tried immediately after the restaurant suit was decided, alleged Wade did the same walk-away act on an agreement to license his name to some charter schools.
A fourth suit involved Wade’s ability to control the use of his likeness and name.
A fifth suit, a defamation suit filed by Wade against von Houtman, wasn’t part of the settlement.
Source: Miami Herald