Beloved Basketball Hall of Famer and TV personality, Shaquille O’Neal, is accused of allegedly hiding inside his home to avoid being served amid a class-action lawsuit against FTX endorsers.
O’Neal is one of several high-profile celebrities, including Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen and Steph Curry, listed as defendants in a class-action lawsuit.
The suit was filed last November by FTX retail investor Edwin Garrison, who claims he opened an account with the now-bankrupt crypto exchange after ‘being exposed to’ celebrity endorsements and their alleged ‘misrepresentations and omissions.’
According to Garrison’s lawyers, all of the defendants except O’Neal have been served, as the NBA legend has been allegedly hiding in his Texas home as processers arrive on his premises.
‘We have spent great efforts (4 different service companies) trying to get you all served with our Complaint,’ Garrison’s lawyers David Boies and Adam Moskowitz wrote in an email to defendants Tuesday, per Forbes.
The NBA legend was a ‘paid spokesperson’ for the now bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange
Retired QB Tom Brady and ex-wife Gisele Bundchen both promoted FTX during their marriage
‘Only one, however, has chosen to evade service, in order to draw out these proceedings, or to otherwise attempt to avoid answering for these allegations.’
‘It is really astonishing the measures he has gone to avoid service of our complaint,’ Moskowitz told Forbes via email.
‘The irony is that the admitted facts against him are probably the worst against any of the FTX Brand Ambassadors.’
The email sent to FTX defendants says Garrison’s lawyers have reached out to O’Neal’s last known litigation counsel to no avail. Boies and Moskowitz allege the seven-foot-one man is ‘actively evading service, refusing to answer his home door when approached by our process servers.’
Moskowitz also accused O’Neal of being deceitful in a commercial, so he could earn ‘millions of dollars’ resultantly.
O’Neal hosted a Super Bowl Party at Shaq’s Fun House in partnership with FTX in February 2022, ahead of Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.
FTX was a high-profile cryptocurrency exchange that made major inroads with investors, thanks to celebrity endorsements. On November 11, it filed for bankruptcy.
Shaquille O’Neal hosted a Super Bowl Party, ‘Shaq’s Fun House’ in 2022, presented by FTX
The following month, O’Neal told CNBC he was merely a ‘paid spokesperson.’
‘A lot of people think I’m involved, but I was just a paid spokesperson for a commercial,’ O’Neal said.
In September 2021, speaking on cryptocurrency to CNBC Make It, O’Neal remarked: ‘I don’t understand it, so I will probably stay away from it until I get a full understanding of what it is…From my experience, it is too good to be true.’
In a presentation to creditors publicly released on Thursday, the auditors leading FTX through bankruptcy said they had identified just $2.8 billion in assets towards the $11.6 billion that customers are owed from their accounts.
Other defendants listed in the suit are the Golden State Warriors, tennis player Naomi Osaka, Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem, former MLB star David Ortiz, LA Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, comedian Larry David, entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary and FTX founder, Sam Bankman-Fried.
The lawsuit argues the exchange’s interest-bearing accounts were technically a security, requiring its endorsers to publicize details of their compensations from FTX.
‘They have never disclosed the nature, scope, and amount of compensation they personally received in exchange for the promotion,’ the complaint alleges.
A response from defendants is expected by April 14.
Both Brady and Stephen Curry signed endorsement deals with Bankman-Fried’s FTX
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried on stage with Gisele Bundchen at a conference during 2022
Tennis star Naomi Osaka also signed a deal with FTX before the crypto exchange went bust