No one has “getting burned by an advisee” on their to-do list. In fact, not long ago, I wrote a post about what types of claims an advisor may have against an advisee should the advisee use the advisor’s services and follow up with a “I’m not paying you, but I really appreciate the help” type of statement. I find it funny, but sad, at how often a player or his family thinks that advisors are just being friendly when they take their time and use up resources to benefit the player. The fact of the matter is that it occurs, but we rarely hear about an advisor going after his commission. It is practically never reported, but it also rarely occurs, because quite often, the hassle and time is just not worth it. Sometimes it is.
I’m just reporting the facts on this one, so if you are a party involved in this matter, don’t get upset (there is no malice involved in my write-up). Anyway, in my MLB Draft Day 1 breakdown, I listed the advisors next to the players who were fortunate to be early draftees. With pick #22 overall, the Texas Rangers selected Kellin Deglan, a Canadian catcher committed to Florida International University who was being advised by Double Diamond Sports Management. Deglan ended up being the 1st player selected in the 1st round to sign with a team, albeit for a below-slot deal ($1 million). No matter what Deglan signed for, it is likely that Double Diamond expected its advising commission of whatever was agreed to by the advisor and advisee prior to the draft. It is not uncommon for that commission to be set at 5% of the player’s signing bonus.
In a post titled, You don’t say: Player in Scott Rothstein Ponzi scheme ripped off!, Jose Lambiet wrote (I did not change a single word or add emphasis on any phrases),
One of the alleged players in the Scott Rothstein Ponzi scheme is going to spend what could be his last few months of freedom chasing a professional baseball player who, he said, ripped him off!
Howard Kusnick, a partner in Rothstein’s now-defunct Fort Lauderdale-Boca Raton lawfirm expected to be indicted for his role in the $1.4 billion scam, last week filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in a Palm Beach County court.
The lawsuit alleges that Kusnick’s Double Diamond Sports Management represented Major League baseball first-round draftee Kellin Deglan, a catcher prospect of the Texas Rangers. Kusnick supposedly babysat Deglan through the pre-draft weeks — and now Deglan won’t pay the $50,000 he allegedly owes Double Diamond for the work.
That amount of money, according to the lawsuit, represents five percent of the 18-year-old Deglan’s $1 million-signing bonus.
In the lawsuit, Kusnick is also kvetching about the fact he had to buy all kinds of baseball equipment for Deglan, including a $110-Oakley glasses.
When a 1st round draft pick does not pay his advising fee, it is probably worth it to go after that kind of money in court. I do not see the suit as being bad publicity, instead, I commend the filing of the suit because it may serve to let players understand that advisors provide a time-consuming and research-intensive service that deserves just compensation. One can argue about whether 5% is fair compensation, but since it is fairly solid custom in the industry to charge that amount, that defense probably won’t have strong legs.
I assume that Deglan and Kusnick will settle prior to a hearing for something slightly less than $50,000, but if Deglan decides to see this through, I would be very interested to follow the case and see what the outcome will be.