Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal and business partner Jerome Crawford spent $150,000 investing in the cannabis company Viceroy LLC back in 2017. O’Neal put up $100,000, while Crawford ponied up $50,000. Viceroy was supposed to use the money to invest in legal cannabis businesses but is now described as a “black hole” with no evidence of having made any efforts with the money.
According to a report in Law360, by 2018, the two investors began to suspect that nothing was happening with their investment and asked for up-to-date financial information. They told the company that if it couldn’t provide the information, then they wanted their money returned.
Daron Campbell and Daron Campbell Capital, who are named in the lawsuit, apparently realized the jig was up and agreed to return the money by making monthly payments of $10,000. However, Campbell only made one payment to each of them, and the investors never received any additional money.
They are suing to get the remaining $130,000 returned.
According to the court document, “Campbell had made no further payments as of Sept. 30, 2019, but he reiterated his intent to do so on that date by stating in an email to O’Neal and his representatives, ‘We still fully intend to continue with the buyout of Shaq and Jerome. We should now be able to do so in a timely manner.'”
The case claims that there are no documents reflecting any efforts by Viceroy to generate revenue at any time from 2017 to the present. They also say that no bank statements, general ledgers, or financial statements related to the Viceroy business have ever existed. They claim that, in total, Viceroy received $1.1 million in investment money.
The court documents argue that Campbell accepted his role in the failed investment as his emails conceded that he would return the money. It seems that at one point, the amount of the investment came under question, but O’Neal and Crawford point out that Campbell agreed to return the entire $150,000 investment.
It also looks as if the statute of limitations was considered as the agreement to return the money was mostly oral, which gives only two years time to sue.
Law360 reported that Campbell had pushed back saying in a July 13 court filing, “Plaintiffs cannot establish that there was a contract, much less one that is enforceable by the courts. Plaintiffs cannot establish that any money was paid from plaintiffs to defendants. Plaintiffs also state that the alleged contract was to invest in a federally illegal product.”
The investors argued, that it was instead a breach of contract giving them four years to sue. The payments were missed in 2019 and the case wasn’t begun until November 2021. This court document was filed on Dec. 19, 2022.