Dwyane Wade Files Libel Suit Against Ex-Business Partner

Hey, remember back in April when Dwyane Wade's former business partner Richard von Houtman unleashed a Riptide smear tirade against the Miami Heat superstar?

Von Houtman, one of Wade's partners in the thwarted D Wade's Place restaurant chain, cast Wade as a naive businessman, controlled by his entourage, who cheated on his wife prolifically, smoked tons of weed, and did steroids.

This can't be much of a shocker: Wade has filed a libel suit against Von Houtman, Riptide has learned. At the suit's heart: von Houtman's angry missives concerning Wade to Heat president and coach Pat Riley. An excerpt from one of the e-mails to Riley:

"[Wade's ex-wife Shiovaughn] called me the other day to tell me that she was being threatened by Mr. Wade, and what could I do to help. Mr. Wade is a bully and a coward... He and most of your Heat players are smoking, using cocaine, and steroids. I wonder how and why the Heat organization can condone such behavior.. I will be talking to the press and Olympic committee and showing them evidence to support my allegations on Thursday... I will be sending to your home a hard copy of this letter, and also in fairness to [Heat owner] Mickey Arison's home."

Von Houtman signed the diatribe with: "The Miami Heat: 'Drugs, Sex, & Basketball'."

"The purpose of the contact," states the libel suit, "was an obvious and unabashed attempt to pressure Mr. Wade into a settlement of the legal dispute by embarrassing Mr. Wade in the eyes of his employer and boss."

The danger of attacking somebody in the public spotlight is you're likely to weather some nasty body blows as well. Besides skewering his use of the titles "Baron" and "Von", Wade's lawyers dug through an early-'90s divorce case- one of at least five in the 63-year old Von Houtman's life- in which he was accused of profiting from drug-trafficking. The language from that case:

Von Houtman is not formally employed, and has no discernible source of income. He has a high school education and is not a citizen of this country and claims to obtain all his money in the form of loans from business associates in Amsterdam and from friends and family members... Regardless of [Houtman's] lack of employment, in recent years he purchased with cash funds a waterfront home and lot in Boca Raton, Florida, costing $1.2 million and a Lamborghini... Houtman has deposited cash money in various bank accounts in South Florida totaling more than $600,000 [in a four-month period]. Some deposits were done by wire transfer from Amsterdam, some were direct deposits of foreign currency brought from Europe by Houtman and some were made by depositing large numbers of small denominations. 

In fact, Richard Aaron Houtman, as he was born, has admitted in court to working as a USA "real estate buyer" for Klaas Bruinsma- a Dutch gangster who was once Europe's most powerful druglord. In 1992, U.S. Customs seized Von Houtman's $1.2 million Boca Raton mansion after our hero brazenly stated in divorce court that the house was bought with funds from Bruinsma.

Von Houtman, who has had several domestic violence injuctions filed against him, is a convicted criminal. In December, 1997, cops came to the Boca Raton fitness center owned by his wife and managed by him after it was reported that he was beating up on her. Von Houtman attacked the cops, screaming, "I'll break your arm!" It took three officers to cuff him, and he injured one cop's finger.

Von Houtman didn't seem to distraught when told of the new suit. "I've been waiting for Wade to file a suit like this against me," he tells Riptide. "I will annihilate him."

This feud gets uglier- on both sides. Stay tuned to New Times for more...

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Gus Garcia-Roberts

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