A high school gymnasium will sport a new name and look Saturday, thanks to a $1 million donation from LeBron James.
AKRON, Ohio - A "he said, she said" between LeBron James' management company and a former non-profit volunteer is only getting more complicated.
The convoluted case all began back in 2007, when former Akron City Council candidate DeAndre Forney agreed to volunteer with the LeBron James Family Foundation. He was later accused and acquitted of theft.
In a news release from Forney's spokesman, they claimed that the mother of LeBron's children, Savannah Brinson, was ordered back from the London Olympics to testify in court to help clear Forney's name.
A source with knowledge of the case said there is no order from Judge Thomas Teodosio for Brinson to return to Akron. In fact, court documents filed on July 12 explain that the judge threw out Forney's 2010 suit.
According to court documents, Forney volunteered with the LeBron James Family Foundation, which is managed by the former Cavaliers' LRMR Management Company. During that time, Forney planned an event, sponsored by LJFF, for underprivileged kids at the Kalahari Report, documents said.
"Forney pre-paid many of the costs of the Kalahari event. In July and August, despite Forney's promise and arrangements to pay the vendors and other persons who loaned him money for the Kalahari event, one or more of them requested payment from JLFF," according to 2010 court documents. LRMR and LJFF paid the bills, and later filed charges for $12,818.98 in theft against Forney.
Forney had political ambitions, serving as vice president of the Summit County Young Democrats and being selected as a delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The Ohio Democratic Party stripped Forney of his credentials once he was indicted. Forney was seeking $50,000 in damages. Padrutt said a hearing was set for Tuesday, but court sources said that has been thrown out.
"Rather than continuing this charade against their former volunteer, they should apologize to DeAndre and keep the 'heat' in Florida where it belongs," said Forney's spokesman, Andy Padrutt. Court documents said LRMR intended to ruin the Akron man's hopes of a career in politics.
The hearing that was originally set for Tuesday dealt with the foundation's countersuit, which was voluntarily dropped. The LeBron James Family Foundation has a year if it wishes to refile, the group said.
"Savannah Brinson's testimony is central to the case because the Foundation had alleged that they had no involvement with planning the charity event, yet Brinson and her two children attended, as did other foundation employees," a news release from Forney's spokesman said.
"Mr. Forney led unsuspecting, well-intentioned people to part with money, goods, and services because he falsely represented that they were doing business with the Foundation," a letter filed on behalf of the foundation dated July 23, 2012 said.
"We will not allow Mr. Forney's predatory behavior to impede for one minute the good work that the LeBron James Family Foundation does for the Akron community, and in particular its at-risk youth."
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