adidas clearance uk Adidas’ Jim Gatto files motion to dismiss bribery case
The Adidas executive accused of participating in a conspiracy to pay off teenage basketball players claimed in court documents that the payments do not constitute a crime.
Jim Gatto, the Wilsonville sports marketer at the center of the explosive basketball scandal, did not confirm or deny paying six figure sums to players to attend Adidas aligned schools. Even if he did, his lawyers argued, it doesn’t amount to wire fraud, as alleged by federal prosecutors. District Court in New York. “It is not against the law to offer a financial incentive to a family to persuade them to send their son or daughter to a particular school.”
The filing did concede the payments “might” violate NCAA rules. “After expending enormous resources, the government has strained to find any legal theory in order to transform NCAA rule violations into a conspiracy to commit federal wire fraud,” the filing said.
The allegations have rocked the world of college basketball, raising questions about the influence of sneaker companies on the sport. Federal prosecutors worked the case for more than two years, equipping a confidential informant with a wire, who then participated in a number of meetings with Gatto, Adidas consultant Merl Code, and various financial advisers, agents and coaches.
A source close to the case cautioned against interpreting the language in Friday’s filing as an admission the payments were made. In motions to dismiss, defense lawyers generally don’t contest the prosecution’s claims; instead, they present arguments for why the case should be thrown out.
As the head of global sports marketing for basketball at Adidas’ North American headquarters in Portland, Gatto oversaw “significant components” of the company’s high school and college basketball programs, including a multimillion dollar annual budget, prosecutors have said.
Federal charges were filed against 10 people in all, including four assistant coaches at Division I basketball schools. The University of Louisville and the University of Miami, which are both aligned with Adidas, got dragged into the scandal. After the charges were filed, Louisville fired its athletic director and legendary coach Rick Pitino, who allegedly knew of payments to the family of a big time Louisville recruit. Pitino has denied knowing about the payments.
Within hours of his firing, Adidas terminated its personal services agreement with Pitino a deal worth $1.5 million in 2015 16, according to news reports. The coach sued the company, alleging conspiracy and of damaging his reputation.
Gatto, 47, was joined in the motion to dismiss by co defendants Code and Christian Dawkins.
The document offers some new information on Code, a 43 year old South Carolina resident and former college basketball star. “While he spent most of his career working for Nike, he has been employed as a consultant for Adidas since approximately October of 2016,” defense lawyers wrote.
The motion argues that the government’s case lacks two key components necessary to a wire fraud case a victim who got ripped off and perpetrators who schemed to do the thievery.
Prosecutors contend the universities were the victims because the bribes, when discovered, would get them in trouble with the NCAA and cost them scholarships.
In this case, the defense argued, Gatto and Code did not get anything out of the transactions in question. They were trying to help not harm Louisville and Miami.
“The indictment’s failure to allege that defendants schemed to obtain money or property from the universities is a fatal defect,” the motion said.
Allan Garten, a long time federal prosecutor now in private practice in Lake Oswego, said at first blush the defense lawyers’ argument seems plausible. “The fraud statute is very clear, you have to have a scheme to obtain money or property through materially false promises or representations,” Garten said. “I’m having a hard time seeing that here.”