Mike Miller has prepared a lawsuit against the Miami Heat. Miller, a popular player on two Heat championship teams before being amnestied in July, is preparing to file the lawsuit against the Heat because he believes the franchise bears some responsibility for him being swindled out of $2 million by a con man, Haider Zafar, who is currently imprisoned in Ohio awaiting trial on fraud charges in an unrelated case. Details became public as a result of the pretrial hearings in that case.
The potential complaint alleges that Zafar, who had agreed to spend millions with the team over the coming years but never paid, asked a Heat executive to introduce him to players that might be willing to invest with him, and that’s how Miller got sucked in. Miller said the Heat executive vouched for Zafar.
According to Miller’s complaint that has been drawn up but not yet filed, a Heat executive introduced Miller to Zafar, and Zafar used $700,000 of the money he stole from Miller to repay a debt he owed the Heat for courtside seats.
Apparently, Stephen Weber, who at the time was the Heat’s executive vice president of sales, was asked by Zafer to introduce him to “Heat players with businesses Zafar could invest in.” Also apparently, Zafar owed the Heat a lot of money. The complaint claims Weber, who left the Heat during the playoffs, “occasionally set up side deals for his own benefit.”
Settlement talks between Miller and the Heat stalled. Miller had asked for the $700,000, money that was used to pay back the ticket debt, to be paid back to Miller by the Heat, plus attorney’s fees. In the potential lawsuit, Miller is seeking a lot more: the entire $1.7 million that he lost in Zafar’s scam. He already recovered $300,000.
Besides naming the Heat, Weber and the team’s seat licensing company are also named as defendants in the complaint.
According to the complaint, Miller, “at Weber’s urging, met with Zafar at Heat offices,” and Weber told Miller that Zafar was “the real deal.” The complaint said at the time of that January meeting, the Heat and Weber “knew that Zafar had not paid his obligation to the Heat and had disclosed he was using a false, or at least, unofficial, identity and had disclosed that he was under IRS investigation.”
Heat forwards James Jones and Rashard Lewis also were defrauded by Zafar and suffered undisclosed losses.
There is an NBC Sports article with details: here
And a complete story at the Miami Herald: here