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Shaquille O’Neal Faces Lawsuit Over Alleged Breach of Contract and Unpaid Debts By Former Employee

Shaquille O’Neal and his production company, Jersey Legends Productions, are currently embroiled in a legal dispute with a former employee, Donnie Wilson. Wilson claims that he is owed money and has leveled accusations of deceptive practices against the former NBA star and his business partner, Michael Parris.

Wilson is a former communications relations director of their company.

Between 1996 and 2006, Wilson worked for Shaq, and in 2019, Parris recruited him for a movie production role as a creative head, citing his skills in the entertainment industry. Wilson claims he was promised an 18 percent ownership interest in Jersey Legends and a partnership role, RadarOnline reported.

The lawsuit, reported on Jan. 3, 2024, mentions Wilson’s wariness due to past experiences but highlights his hope for an honest partnership with Parris, The New York Post reported.

Wilson claims a verbal agreement was made, but the defendants failed to fulfill promises, leading to allegations of breach of contract and violations of business rules. Wilson expresses financial grievances and a sense of personal betrayal, stating, “This whole ordeal has left me reeling. It’s been a breach of trust that has shattered my faith in fairness.”

As head of creative at Jersey Legends, Wilson said he contributed to projects, including the 2022 Oscar-winning film “Queen of Basketball.” Despite his contributions for winning Best Documentary Short Subject at the 2022 Academy Awards, he claims he was not compensated for the work done on the company’s projects.

He only got paid for side work from HBO, Radar reported.

Though Wilson asserts Shaq was aware of the agreement, it was only put in writing in late 2022, and Shaq and Parris allegedly failed to sign it.

“Beyond the money owed, it’s the personal aspect that cuts the deepest. Being considered family by Shaquille’s loved ones, particularly Michael Parris’ family, makes this betrayal feel like a sharp slap in the face. I feel deeply disappointed and let down,” Wilson continued.

Allegedly, Wilson believes he was not paid due to the company’s debt, now owned by Authentic Brands Group.

As Finurah previously reported, the parent company of Reebok, Authentic Brands Group, owns Shaq’s Jersey Legends, with Shaq as the president of Reebok’s newly formed performance basketball division, as mentioned in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit further undermines Shaq’s business credibility, pointing to his association with the failed crypto exchange FTX. The founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, reportedly paid the NBA Hall of Famer $4.3 million to promote the services before the company declared bankruptcy, Finurah reported.

“Shaquille O’Neal certainly can come across as everyone’s best friend, just a big jovial guy — apparently until he owes you money. He hid from attorneys for months trying to serve him in a class-action lawsuit over the bankrupt FTX crypto exchange and his endorsements of the company and now he’s basically doing the same with Mr. Wilson, hiding from his financial obligations,” Ron Zambrano, Wilson’s lawyer, said, the Post reported. “It’s just shameful behavior by a celebrity of his status.”

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