Richard von Houtman does not like Dwyane Wade. Today, von Houtman and business partner Mark Rodberg filed a federal antitrust suit against Wade and right-hand man Marcus Andrews for pulling out of their D Wade's Sports Grills franchise after allegedly demanding a larger share of the venture in return for his likeness and name. (Von Houtman was also involved in a charter school chain with Wade, which, according to our sister paper in Broward, the superstar left in the lurch.)
Wade owned 10 percent, the suit states, and Andrews owned 2. Court papers filed late yesterday allege "efforts to boycott and destroy a potentially competitive channel" for the marketing and sale of "personalized Wade sports paraphernelia." In other words, Wade is being sued for allegedly monopolizing the use of his own name, violating a contract made with von Houtman and Rodberg.
Booooring. We'd much rather have it be explained by British-born Baron von Houtman, whose profanity-laced tongue matches his blue blood. We stand back as the muscle-bound weightlifter lobs scandalous accusations like he's armed with a verbal grenade launcher.
"Basically, besides all the legal terminology, it's all about his intent to defraud," von Houtman tells Riptide this afternoon. "Here's how it really went down. When Wade was injured [in 2007], we got offered the opportunity to enter into these contracts. He wasn't sure if he could ever play basketball again. So he hedged his bets and said here's these rich guys; I could be an owner of however many hundreds of restaurants get opened.
"But when he realized he was going to be fine, going to come back bigger, better, stronger, the Bionic Man, the superstar of his team, he took a look at the contract that the lawyer had produced for him. He read how he'd have to appear at restaurants four times a year and at every grand opening, which could mean hundreds once we started opening in China. He thought, I'm not going to do that, and he emailed us, saying, 'I'm not going to do this anymore.' Really, I can see the reasons why.
"You know what I would've done?" continues von Houtman. "The right thing to do is to say, 'You've gone through considerable expense and trouble.' Mark worked 16 hours a day, I worked 12 hours a day, ironing out all of the details. I would've said, 'You know what? Let's make a sensible settlement.' Instead, because he's not that bright, we've gotten to this point."
A source close to von Houtman says Wade was recently offered a $20 million settlement to dismiss these cases, which the businessman has turned down. By the way, dear reader, this would be a good time to put on your hazmat suit. It's about to get nasty.
"Wade's from the hood, his mother was an alcoholic junkie; his father is an alcoholic. He goes from wearing hand-me-down clothes one day to being a millionaire superstar the next. He's foolish. I think if he lets this antitrust [suit], and then my fraud charges, continue, he's likely to be a fool, because he'll lose his sponsors for sure. Can he earn $20 million a year playing basketball? Sure. But can he make himself into a conglomerate with endorsements? Not anymore, because who would you rather have pitch your product, LeBron James, whose reputation is squeaky-clean, or Wade, whose reputation will be smeared through the dirt?"
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SHOW ME HOW
"Part of it is steroid rage. Dwyane has all of the signs of a steroid user, besides from the fact that he asked to buy steroids from me, twice. Because I was using [Deca-Durabolin] for my rotator cuff. I said 'I'll give you the telephone number of my doctor and maybe he'll prescribe it to you, I'm not a steroid user.'" (Von Houtman offers no proof of this claim, which has not been verified by any other media or report.)
Von Houtman prefaced the conversation with "I'm on my Blackberry, and I'm about to run to a meeting", so we keep it short today. But any parting thoughts?
"Yeah, I mean he's just an idiot. What a fucking idiot."
Riptide has e-mailed Wade and Andrews at their personal addresses for comment.