Earlier this month, New Times published "Dwyane's Disaster," a feature about the catastrophic business relationship Heat superstar Dwyane Wade formed with Baron Richard von Houtman -- an accused wife-beater with druglord ties. In case you were wondering what the baron thought about our story, he called us up a few days after it was published and declared, "I think you were a bit cruel to me." He especially didn't like the fact that we believed his ex-wives, whom he assured us are all crazy.
He also promised he was working on a story with another reporter, "and when it comes out, you're going to think, Oh, well I guess I shouldn't have written those things about Richard without knowing the whole truth."
Yesterday, that story came out: an Associated Press account that ran in the Miami Herald and other outlets. The Herald has been undeniably squeamish about touching this story, presumably because of the inflammatory nature of von Houtman's personal accusations against Wade. (Here's our primer on those.) They've gotten around that by simply not mentioning the accusations, but considering Wade quoted them in a $100 million libel lawsuit, the AP version sort of reads like a novel with pages missing. Here's the only mention of the libel suit:
Wade has also filed a $100 million libel lawsuit against von Houtman over emails his former partner sent to Heat president Pat Riley.
"Whoa!" exclaims the non-New Times reader. "What was in the emails? Donkey porn?!"
That said, the AP did get its hands on a recent deposition in which Wade admits for the first time to being a bit worried about, you know, being named in three multimillion-dollar image-threatening lawsuits:
"In my profession, your name and likeness is all people know about you. They don't know just the person," Wade said in a court deposition obtained by the Associated Press. "So, with that being said, with my name and likeness being dragged through everything... there's already a hit on my brand and a hit to my name. That's not good."
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Also entertaining: Details gleaned about von Houtman and company attempting to get Shaquille O'Neal involved in the restaurant business:
As the deal progressed, Wade said in his deposition there was talk among the partners of the "Shaq component," bringing in another high-profile NBA star such as Shaquille O'Neal, who along with Wade had led the Heat to the 2006 NBA championship.
"They just wanted to get him involved, and wanted me to talk to him about getting him involved," Wade said in his deposition.
There was an incentive: Andrews gave Wade a suitcase from von Houtman with $100,000 in cash as a bonus for O'Neal. Wade said von Houtman also promised him another $100,000, so when O'Neal rejected the restaurant overture, Wade kept the cash "like a sign-on bonus," Wade testified.
Two observations: (1) If you're a basketball superstar and your new business partners are trying to broker deals with suitcases full of money, that should be a red flag. (2) Despite his Twitter updates, Shaq is one wise fellow.