Monday, June 12, 2017

Rebel Rags sues MSU players, Tunsil's stepdad over NCAA allegations

A copy of the lawsuit is posted below. 

Rebel Rags sued Mississippi State football players Leo Lewis and Kobe Jones for defamation in Lafayette County Circuit Court Friday.  The complaint also named Lindsey Miller and several John Does as defendants.  A NCAA Notice of Allegations charged that an unnamed Ole Miss booster gave free merchandise to two unnamed players in violation of NCAA guidelines.  Lindsey Miller is the step-father of Laremy Tunsil.

Rebel Rags, LLC is probably is Unnamed Booster #8 that was cited in the notice.  Terry Warren is the President and part-owner of the company.  JJ reported last week:

B8 was the subject of Allegation #9.  The NCAA alleged that B8 worked with Kiffin and Assistant Athletic Director Barney Farrar, to provide several thousand dollars of merchandise from B8's business to recruits and their family members.   It if further alleged that the two Ole Miss employees directed the players to B8 so they could obtain said merchandise.  These gifts took place between January 2013 and January 2016.


Rebel Rags charges Miller cooked up a scheme to hurt Ole Miss after he got into a fistfight with his stepson.  The complaint states:

 8. Upon information and belief, on more than one occasion, beginning in July 2015, Defendant Lindsey Miller met with NCAA enforcement staff member(s) in Lafayette County, MS following an altercation between Defendant Lindsey Miller and Laremy Tunsil, a football player for the University of Mississippi.

9. Defendant Miller, with a personal vendetta and a score he hoped to settle with Tunsil and others intentionally, maliciously and/or with reckless disregard for the impact upon Plaintiff, provided a "confidential statement" to NCAA enforcement staff member(s), which was known by Defendant Miller to be false. Defendant Miller untruthfully alleged that he (Miller) had previously received free merchandise from Plaintiff though a scheme to circumvent NCAA regulations prohibiting such actions involving prospective student athletes.

10.. Upon information and belief, Defendant Leo Lewis arranged multiple meetings and met with NCAA officials at the request and urging of one or more John Doe defendants, and intentionally, maliciously and/or with reckless disregard for the impact upon Plaintiff provided one or more "confidential statements" to NCAA enforcement staff member(s) which were known by Defendant Lewis, and by other Defendants, including John Doe defendants, to be false. Defendant Lewis untruthfully alleged that he had previously obtained free merchandise through a scheme to circumvent NCAA regulations prohibiting such action involving prospective student athletes.

11. Upon information and belief, Defendant Kobe Jones also met with NCAA officials at the request and urging of one or more John Doe defendants, and intentionally, maliciously and/or with reckless disregard for the impact upon Plaintiff provided one or more "confidential statements" to NCAA enforcement staff member(s) which were known by Defendant Jones, and by other Defendants, including John Doe defendants, to be false. Defendant Jones untruthfully alleged that he had previously obtained free merchandise through a scheme to circumvent NCAA regulations prohibiting such action involving prospective student athletes.
Attorneys Charles Merkel, Jr. and Charles Merkel, III represent Rebel Rags.



51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Welp, for someone or everyone, it's about to get real. MAD is commencing.

Anonymous said...

Leave it to the Black Bears to get all trial lawyer-y.

(Not a State fan)

But this is gonna be some kind of mud-slingin'. Imagine deposing Leo Lewis during the season...and leaking it! Oh, this will be schadenfreude, all the way around, 24/7.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone watch Veep last night where Gary's closeted gay father came to the party in his finest A logo crimson and white Alabama shirt?

Toll Ride said...

Yawn.

It just goes to show how you can get away with blatant cheating when the SEC HQ is located in your backyard and half the staff pulls for the Tide.

MSU fans, don't think the SEC won't throw you under the bus to save Saban and the Tuscaloosa Tree Poisoners. Enjoy this today and get your jollies in now, because it might be you tomorrow. But all the outright cheating that occurs on the Black Warrior River is swept under the rug because they're building CHAMPIONS over there (by any means necessary).

Anonymous said...

12:00, keep on living in lalal land. If you are into the kool-aid so deep to believe that all this is caused by Old Miss (sic) getting lucky and beating Alabama a second time, call for a lifeguard before you drown.

My more interesting question is -- how does one defame a someone/something named "Rebel Rag". Seems like they did the defaming when they filed their LLC paperwork.

Anonymous said...

So, to be clear, the 'yawner' wakes up long enough to pretend this whole thing is about MSU.

This is about free UMAA logo merchandise being given to players, recruits, family members and others by a booster. Of course he gave it to them.

"Thatcho girl-fran? Sure she can have those sweats. And tell her to get two or three of those windbreakers too, whatever size she wants for people back home. Socks too. Keychain? Sure, two or three of those too. I got girl-caps in the back, lemee get a box of those."

Anonymous said...

Everyone should know that there will soon be a sequel to "The Courting of Marcus DuPree". It's being titled "The Payment Plan of Leo Lewis".

Anonymous said...

How can you defame somebody who yaps his clap-trap from the time his little tinkle-bell indicates his shop door is opening til the last customer leaves shaking her head?

Anonymous said...

"The Payment Plan of Leo Lewis".

Well played.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember that infamous Instagram post by LaQuon "Paidwell" made? Dolla Dolla Bills yall. Ole Miss is just salty this guy played them like a freshman sorority girl and Leo is a 5th Year senior supposedly going to make partner in his dad's law firm when he graduates.

Anonymous said...

Charles Sr. is one of the best attorneys in the state and has been for quite some time. Rebel Rags is well represented.

A few things to consider:
- This will not see any sort of conclusion before the NCAA renders a decision...there will be answers, countersuits, motions for change of venue, interlocutory appeals on issues, etc....this will take years to resolve;
- It is HIGHLY likely that Freeze and Farrar (and maybe even Bjork) will be subpoenaed for depositions under oath...if memory serves, Freeze was very reluctant to go on the record in the Miller case; and
- though this seems to be a big deal relative to the NCAA charges, it will have little to no impact on the NCAA and what they decide to do.

In the end, for other reasons, I think that the NCAA will dismiss all charges relative to Leo Lewis. Also, even though Farrar seems to be playing nice for OM and Freeze in attempts to fall on the sword at the moment, I don't think the NCAA will buy that position (for instance, though Freeze claims to have known nothing, he was in the room with boosters and recruits when improper things went down).

In view of the new penalty matrix, it is still possible, even without the Lewis Level I violations that OM could receive bowl bans exceeding 4 YEARS. It will be bad, I am afraid.

Anonymous said...

Know this: The Merkel firm isn't your typical plaintiff firm. They wouldn't have gotten involved and/or taken the case, unless they felt very comfortable in substantiating and proving their claims. This will be costly for the defendants, other SEC schools and the conference itself. They have the wherewithal, both in legal acumen and financial backing, to take this as far as it has to go, should they choose.

The interesting play will be how this plays into the NCAA investigation. Freeze and Ole Miss aren't parties to the Rebel Rags lawsuit. Their participation in discovery will only come if forced by a judge after clearing procedural hurdles, which would most likely be appealed. Regardless, the named defendants will have to participate in discovery and respond under penalty of perjury. Furthermore, there has been great speculation as to the breadth of the immunity given to Leo Lewis. If it only pertains to him, then what about the school or schools who he stated (under oath???) gave him $10,000???

Pandora's box has been opened.

Anonymous said...

this lawsuit and the pending NOA2 are apples and oranges. someone stated above that the NCAA will rule before the pleadings are framed in the lawsuit. the only thing the lawsuit might do with regard to the NCAA will be, far after penalties are imposed and possibly served, is show how wrong certain positions of the NCAA are. other than that possibility, the lawsuit may provide us Ole Miss fans with something to follow if the program does get crippled by sanctions...

Anonymous said...

Rebel Rags had very little choice- booster disassociation would have forced Rags to
lose merchandise licensing agreements with the Rebels. But the lawsuit takes any
control of the investigation away from the Ole Miss legal team. It's all going to be public
record from the Chancellor to any athlete that ever walked through the door of Rebel Rags.
And Rebel Rags has to produce records of sale for any Rebel Rags items in the possession
of Miller et al. The NCAA case against Ole Miss has just gone on super steroids. Ole Miss
is again the big loser.

Anonymous said...

All the OM faithful that are now hanging their hopes and dreams, all their wonderful memories of their frat life and nights in the grove, on this lawsuit better start looking for another source of comfort. Surely you know that RR has given away product to athletes, signed and recruits. As to the amount needed to trigger NCAA sanctions, look only to a free for a day until mama gets here price of tires; or a discount on shoes. Doesn't matter if any student gets the same discount, cant give it to the athlete.

Defamation? How? When did any of the unnamed students (who have, to use the modern day term, now been unmasked) make any public statement about RR?

If it hadn't been in response to NCAA questions, but a statement on the hallowed square, RR would have paid a fee for such a comment as an advertisement. Hard to see where there is defamation.

Merkle has plenty of money (that you to another OM alum, the un-honorable Mr. Scruggs) so he can take on a few cases just for the hell of it. Yes, he's pretty damn smart, but he's also quite loyal. I wouldn't bet the farm on his representation to make this into anything other than the pure bull droppings that it is.

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting to see what happens when the plaintiff(s) serve a subpoena on the NCAA for its "immunity interviews" with Leo Lewis.

Anonymous said...

This is also reminiscent of 2008, the year Phil Fulmer skipped media days to avoid being subpoenaed by some white-trash Alabama sidewalk alumnus.

And I apologize for the redundancy.

Anonymous said...

This will see a court room just like the Nkemdiche brothers civil suit for
beating the crap out of the frat boys...for not delivering their weekly
check on time Sigma Nu check delivery system . Zeus's old frat

Anonymous said...

This Ole Miss - Mississippi State thing gets worse by the week.

Why can't we all just get along?

Anonymous said...

When you lie and those lies hurt people and their ability to make a living get ready to get sued. Tell the truth and all will be well.This business would not be going to court with out proper evidence.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they can get the trial moved to Waynesboro.

"6-6 Exceeding Expectations" said...

This whole thing is the fault of Archibald Manning who brought this circuit-ridin' preacher to town in the first place. Shoulda left his ass in Arkansas and found a coach who could play by the rules.

Anonymous said...

Marketing for the Markell Firm! He gets paid by having his name out there!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Leo should suit Rags for defaming his name.......hmmm

Anonymous said...

Anybody remember the old SWC? Scorch the earth UM.

Anonymous said...

I never knew Rebel Rags was the alleged booster. I guess filing this Complaint has really helped Rebel Rags' reputation even more.

Anonymous said...

Anybody remember the old SWC? Scorch the earth UM.

Ah, yes. The whole SMU thing played a role in its demise, but one Jackie Wayne Sherrill at aTm gave the conference its last shove over the precipice.

Trivia: Who's the only NCAA Division 1 coach to get three different schools put on probation? (Hint: if he'd tried harder at Washington State, he could've gone 4-for-4.)

Anonymous said...

When Ian a FERPA violation going to be filed against UM for outing Lewis and Jones?

Anonymous said...

Here is a legal question. 4:49 says this store would not go to court without legal evidence. Is there any way under the sun to prove the store never gave clothing away? Seems like that would be impossible. Suppose they flip it and ask LL to prove they did give him clothing. Then suppose LL says, look the NCAA ask me to testify and I did. I was not in a court of law and offer no proof that would stand up in court. I told the NCAA what I knew. It was up to them to believe me or not. So the store says you have no proof. You defamed us. LL says, nope. I told the truth in a confidential hearing. You are leaking your own name by this lawsuit. So the legal question is if LL says they gave him clothing but he has no proof, does that break any laws?

Anonymous said...

Tunsils step father claimed that rebel rags (terry) gave away free merchandise. The 2 state players also claimed to have received free merchandise. I seriously doubt Leo or the other kid know tunsils stepdad. There stories basically corroborate each other.

Anonymous said...

@7:34 let's pretend for a second that FERPA somehow applied to a person who wasn't a student at your educational institution. What section might Ole Miss have violated?

@7:56 are you saying because LL can't prove his allegations, and RR apparently can disprove them, LL can say he wasn't under oath and has no proof so no harm no foul?

Anonymous said...

Lewis said he got $10,000 from another school. This thing is going to get interesting. The NCAA may camp out in Starkville for
5 years.

Anonymous said...

A rebel rag ain't got nothin on a Nutt Rag!

#HottyToddy
#FailState

Anonymous said...

If LL has any money he can give it to his parents for safekeeping until this is over. LL says I was telling the truth but cannot prove it. I have $55.20 in the bank. You can have that.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the folks in Starkville are worried about the NCAA.
De-Ruynna Willson 3 star
Brandon Bryant 3 star
Nick Fitzgerald 3 star
Travez Calhoun 2 Star
Benardrick McKinney 2 star
Darius Slay 3 star
Dillon Day 2 star
Vick Ballard 3 star
Blaine Clausell 2 star
Malcom Johnson 2 star
Dak 3 star
Not saying they never get any 4's or 5's, but their success is based on getting more middle of the road guys and developing them.

Lafayette Laughs While Rebel Rags said...

Whoever said the ability for Rebel Rags to continue marketing OM merchandise is what's on the line here....nailed it.

If RR is a named booster who will be disassociated, then the owner of the place will have to start selling Oxford High T-Shirts and could possibly (but not necessarily) see a drop in profits.

Those who testified can't prove RR gave them stuff but the told the NCAA that was the case. RR can't prove it did not give the merchandise away and can't prove they sold it to them. So there's that.

"I don't have to prove you gave it to me. I only have to tell the truth. And the truth is that you let me pick it out and I did not pay for it. I don't see how that defames you."

Anonymous said...

Jun 12, 3.38:

Zeus was an SAE, not a Sigma Nu - to be clear. Trent Lott was a Sigma Nu, although we are not inclined to claim him, either.

Anonymous said...

The NCAA should defend these boys. If the NCAA wants to continue getting information from college students they should include legal defense as part of the immunity. You would only get legal help if the NCAA believes what you told them and uses that information to punish someone. These kids don't have money for lawyers. If the NCAA won't stand behind them how will they get kids to take this risk in the future?
And the first order of the legal defense is we won't pick of jury from folks who live anywhere near Oxford, MS.

Anonymous said...

Attn 7:20 By any chance could "Zeus" and Trent Lott be brothers in law???

Anonymous said...

I don't know if Zeus is Dickie Scruggs or not, but I do know he has (or had) a mixed breed dog named Zeus.

Anonymous said...

hey 5:04p, you hit the nail on the head!! this one is on good ol' ah-chee and his flock...and it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch! generations of mississippians from many different schools have been waiting for this day and i feel blessed to be alive to see it coming!

so....here's to you ah-chee and hugh "win the right way" freeze!!! thanks for all you have done...B-)

for your your viewing pleasure, a walk down memory lane....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTAKuIGWQ90

Kingfish said...

A reader made this anonymous comment:

Yes, "Zeus" is Dickie Scruggs. I think that came out in the King of Torts book a while back. It was his fraternity nickname. The SAE rituals reference a bunch of mythical shit, and Scruggs is a tall fella, so the name made sense. It wouldn't shock me if he were one of the boosters named in the suit. I would think that he would have been more discrete about how he handled it so as to avoid being connected to the dirt, but the fact that one or more of the named parties have sued to suppress their IDs makes me think it must be a lawyer. Of course, it could be xxxx xxxx as well. They both have more money than sense.

Anonymous said...

Merkel and son are both Ole Miss JDs...I have no idea about their level of "Groveyness," just food for thought...

As to who can "prove" what, one way to produce evidence that Rebel Rags did or did not give merchandise away is simply look at the inventory and sales records (and "prove" really ought to be "produce evidence"). If someone claimed they went to the store and received a pile of merchandise without paying, they would have a general idea of when it occurred, and in any event, it would be a simple thing to find evidence/verify when a recruit was in Oxford. Plus, there are the various taxing entities: state sales tax, inventory tax, state and fed income tax, etc. Moreover, it would seem that the "gifts" at issue are not just a single cap or a t-shirt, so for example, if a recruit says the store gave him/his family/girlfriend/posse members 4 jackets on such-and-such date and the store can show that it purchased 48 jackets, etc., but has sales records for all 48 jackets, etc. during the relevant time frame (or purchased 48 but can only demonstrate sales of 44), that would be evidence for one side of the litigation.

Now imagine a recruit says the store gave them 4 Acme Manufacturing jackets with Ole Miss logo on the back and the store can show that a) they never possessed any such jackets and b) Acme states they have never made such a jacket (or Acme says they made 4 of them as a custom order in sizes W, X, Y and Z), that would be evidence. As to what any of it might go to "prove" would be up jury (or judge if a bench trial).

My question would be how much damage could be shown. The store being ridiculed by fans of a rival team, who aren't buyers of Ole Miss merchandise, would not result in financial damage because such sales were not going to occur anyway. Damages would be shown by producing specific people who did not buy from Rebel Rags because of the allegedly false statements made by the Defendants, who made those statements with the intent that it would cause damage to the Plaintiff, which is what the suit alleges occurred. Meaningful evidence of that would be if the store can show, for example, that these "multiple customers" did X dollars of business a year with the store and now, do that business with another vendor. Simply having multiple people state they (theoretically) will not buy from the store because of the allegations, but with no testimony that they actually bought elsewhere, won't be very strong evidence of "damages." Generally speaking, the store will have to convince a jury (or judge) that actual sales were lost specifically because of the conduct of the Defendants and that the Defendants intended those lost sales to occur.

Purely an observation from someone who isn't terribly familiar with the specifics, but this doesn't seem like a lawsuit filed solely to recover legitimate business losses caused by financially-viable Defendants.

Anonymous said...

8:32 - You really didn't intend to click on 'publish your comment' did you? You were joking, right? You were holding a bong, right? Please tell us you didn't mean to post that.

Anonymous said...

8:32 a person who would give clothes to recruits knowing that was against the rules is not going to have a problem lying about sales records. I once worked for a commercial building contractor who would build himself a house every so often. He would purchase materials and subcontract labor in legal ways. But company equipment and labor would be charged to a commercial job. Often his brother would be superintendent on these houses so the time sheets did not have to be altered. The brother lied when he filled out the time sheets. The workers did not know what was on the times sheets. They knew they were paid for the proper number of hours. The office bookkeeper did not know where the men were working. She knew what was on the time sheets. If this store gave clothes away it is likely they did it often and covered the paper trail. So it falls to the defendants attorney to figure out a way that the records could have been falsified and convince the jury that they were falsified.

Anonymous said...

8:32 suppose I own this store and get three of my wealthy friends to play golf with me once a week. At the end of the game everyone gives $100 to me as if they had lost a bet. I keep the cash locked in my desk. When I give clothes away I make out a proper receipt listing all the materials sold. The payment method is cash. I put this into my pocket. At the end of the day when I am alone I add the receipt and the proper amount of cash to the day's sales. I am careful to make the exact change from the cash register to my cash box.
I have never worked in a retail store, much less owned one. I am certain one could come up with many ways to create a paper trail. Notice it is always the local owner of a small business who is involved in this. It's never the guy who owns a Walmart or Target. The big stores have too much record keeping for this.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, all sorts of hypothetical scenarios, from plausible and reasonable to unlikely to far-fetched and ridiculous, can be put forth and hypothetical counter-arguments, also plausible to ridiculous, to those scenarios suggested. I offered examples purely as a way to indicate _evidence_ in a lawsuit versus something being "proven" in the non-legal sense, not offer any specific theories as to what may or may not have happened.

I'd say this: if the store owner did act with forethought and in concert with others insofar as hiding substantive gifts to recruits (along with falsifying sales and tax records and filings in doing so), and evidence of that comes out, it will sure make things interesting for numerous people and entities. And I'll reiterate this: this suit doesn't seem like a standard "damages" suit seeking to recover from viable Defendants. The Oxford Eagle published an article that goes into some of the specifics and touches on similar claims of evidence (the allegation of receiving and using gift cards versus claims that records that are devoid of such cards being used, claims of security tags removed versus a claim of no security tags used, etc.) that I used in my examples. The article states, "...Allegation 9, which accuses former Ole Miss staff members Chris Kiffin and Barney Farrar of arranging for the three to receive approximately $2,800 worth of free apparel from the store between Jan. 25-27, 2013 and between March 28, 2014 and Jan. 31, 2016." Assuming this is accurate, it doesn't seem to indicate a "grudge" against "Rebel Rags, LLC." I've yet to hear/see anything about the disposition of any of the claimed $2800.00 worth of gifts - where the gifts are now or an explanation of what allegedly happened to them to inhibit their production - anyone have any info on that?

A_Geezer_Opines said...

One must pause to contemplate the staggering number of potentially billable hours have gone down the crapper while UM-faithful attorneys have spent time in the workplace advancing these many, many, many scenarios about how this all happened and what parties are currently wearing (or hiding) the many colorful UM articles debated herein.

Ye olde Salvation Army Thrift Store(s) may see an uptick in TSUN clothing donations.

Yeah, I'm a Bulldog, but I sincerely hate to see Ole Miss going through all this. "Why can't we all just do what is right?"

Anonymous said...

Under the idea that the store owner collects donations, pays cash for the items, and reports them as sales I would assume he pays sales tax and no tax laws would be broken. And he is not required to report gifts to the IRS unless they exceed a value much larger than this. So I believe he could do this without breaking any real laws. That is, laws that could send you to jail. He would only be breaking NCAA rules which are not real laws. That doesn't keep him from being a sorry SOB, but he won't go to jail. I think most of us would agree that he probably does not consider himself a sorry SOB because he has convinced himself that 'everybody does it.' News flash, everybody doesn't do it and most people would never consider such a thing.

Anonymous said...

8:32 the problem with counting on the kids claiming they got things that the store did not carry is that only works if the kids made this up. Kids go to State, they probably hate Ole Miss. But would you make up lies and put yourself thru all of this when you figure the NCAA is going to have tons of evidence weather you testify or not? Makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

The Rebel Rags website shows more than 400 items on sale right now. But a search for items under keyword 'probation' yielded no results. I guess they don't keep inventory in tune with current events.

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