Joined: 03 Feb 2004
|Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2023 10:57 am Post subject: Victor Oladipo sues ex-manager for stealing over $1 million to buy strip club, condo
|NBA Star: Manager Stole $1M to Buy Strip Club, Condo
Miami Heat star Victor Oladipo has taken legal action against his once-trusted right-hand man, whom he accuses of swiping more than $1 million.
Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo—who turned in a silky rendition of “Easy” by the Commodores on season two of The Masked Singer—says a trusted business partner secretly looted his bank accounts, allegedly sinking the stolen funds into a plush Florida condo and a New York City strip club.
In a blistering court filing obtained by The Daily Beast, Oladipo, a 31-year-old two-time NBA All-Star whose playing career of late has been plagued by injuries, accuses longtime business manager James B. Henderson of taking him for at least $1.3 million while he wasn’t looking.
The allegations, which have not previously been reported, are laid out in the June 16 petition, which seeks to force Henderson, who goes by the moniker “Jay Belly,” to sit for a deposition and explain himself.
Reached by phone on Friday, Henderson’s attorney, Ariel Mitchell, said her client did not wish to comment on the case. The bitter dispute began with a lawsuit filed by Oladipo in Orange County Circuit Court last year, but has purposely been kept silent, according to a source close to both Henderson and Oladipo.
“Mr. Oladipo didn’t want it publicized, Mr. Henderson didn’t want it publicized,” the source told The Daily Beast. “They’ve been doing it the way they should, in court.”
The newly filed petition says Oladipo hired Henderson in May 2017, while Oladipo was with the Indiana Pacers. Over the next several years, Henderson helped Oladipo embark on a series of high-profile ventures, facilitating a co-ownership position at a record label, an executive producing credit on a Hollywood film, and marketing deals with big brands like Motorola and Hulu. Oladipo and Henderson jointly became part-owners of a pro basketball team in New Zealand, the Breakers, and Oladipo, a talented crooner with three albums to his name, seemed to have a bright financial future ahead of him.
“We have a nice little system with investments,” Henderson said in a 2020 interview with AfroTech.com. “[Victor] gives me the opportunity and he trusts in me to go out and find certain [companies] that he knows could benefit his portfolio.”
But, according to Oladipo, Henderson was simultaneously stealing from him while all this was going on.
In January 2020, “without [Oladipo’s] knowledge or authorization,” Henderson accessed a loan management account Oladipo had at Merrill Lynch and wired nearly $330,000 to a title insurance company to fund his purchase of a 3-bed, 2-bath condo in Orlando, the court petition states.
The apartment was initially titled in the name of an LLC Henderson created, called Belly Properties, according to Oladipo’s petition.
Later that year, Henderson “forged [Oladipo’s] signature on checks from [his] cash management account at Merrill Lynch, in the amount of $25,803 each, and made them payable to DDS Hospitality Construction in connection with the renovation/improvement of the Condo Unit,” the petition goes on.
On Aug. 17, 2021, Belly Properties transferred ownership of the condo to Henderson’s son, also named James, for a mere $100, it says.
Yet, that was just the start, according to Oladipo. He says Henderson forged additional checks from his Merrill accounts that totaled almost $900,000, using the cash to “pay his personal expenses.”
When Oladipo realized what was happening, he fired Henderson and hired a new business manager, a companion filing states. Henderson’s replacement, who is identified in the filing only as “Mr. Neiman,” soon “uncovered additional misuses of Mr. Oladipo’s money by [Henderson], including investment in and/or joint venture with… a business operating an adult entertainment club in Woodside, New York.”
Located in an industrial section of Queens, hard by the BQE, the club, Starlets, runs theme nights such as “Cut the Check Mondays,” “Mogul Tuesdays,” and “Takeover Thursdays.”
It was name-checked in a 2017 track by the G4 Boyz, featuring Tory Lanez, called “Patek Philippe.”
“Tory, I (bleep) a bad (bleep) out of Starlets,” the lyrics go. “I told her I’mma hit it, hit my target.”
Oladipo’s petition says Henderson “breached his fiduciary duties by converting, dissipating and diverting over a million dollars of [Oladipo’s] money for his personal use and enrichment.” He is asking Henderson to repay “no less than” $1,268,748, plus interest, and Belly Properties for at least $355,070.16, plus interest.
“It is against equity and good conscience to permit [Henderson] to retain such benefit without paying fair value for such benefit,” the petition states.
Henderson blew off a deposition scheduled for May 31, according to Oladipo, who is demanding he appear for sworn testimony about the alleged thefts. Oladipo is also seeking documentation from Starlets concerning Henderson’s investment and any profits he may have enjoyed since. The new filing in New York names Starlets, specifically, in an effort to get the club to disgorge the information sought by Oladipo.
In the meantime, Oladipo is far from broke. Earlier this month, he listed his seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom house on Miami’s Hibiscus Island for $9.95 million. The guesthouse features a $50,000 recording studio.
Oladipo, who is originally from Maryland, told The Wall Street Journal he’s selling because he “would love for my daughter to have a tennis court, or just [more] land so she can run and play around.”
Oladipo’s attorneys did not respond to multiple requests for comment.