Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has struck back against former key members of his inner circle, filing a hard-hitting lawsuit in district court in response to one filed against him. In the counterclaim filed against his former trusted adviser Royce West, Bryant alleges that West used Bryant's celebrity to "improperly line his own pockets and those of his business associates."
Bryant alleges that West breached his fiduciary duty, exhibited gross negligence and performed fraud, among other infractions. The accusations paint a picture of West and his associate David Wells, a former bail bondsman who served as a Bryant confidante, as essentially taking advantage of Bryant and stealing his money. Bryant had given Wells Power of Attorney, thanks to advice from West.
According to claims made in the lawsuit obtained by NFL.com, Wells created and used Dez Enterprises to attract marketing deals using Bryant's name and likeness -- sometimes without Bryant knowing.
"Then, West would instruct endorsement companies and others to make payments for any endorsement agreements to Wells, not Bryant. Many of these payments stopped at Wells and/or West, but never reached Bryant," the lawsuit states. Bryant eventually terminated the Power of Attorney, though Wells and West refused to return all company documents to Bryant, claiming they did not have records of any of them. West was the director of the company.
This is all in response to West taking action against Bryant. One month ago West, a Texas state senator, sued Bryant, claiming the receiver caused so much damage to his property in DeSoto, Texas, that he had to spend $60,000 to repair it. Bryant had lived in the house for years, with West helping serve as one of his advisers who hoped to keep Bryant out of trouble. This was the Cowboys' plan to keep Bryant focused on the field and out of trouble off of it.
According to the lawsuit, Wells "absconded" with more than $200,000 owed to Bryant from endorsements. The alleges West and his law firm breached fiduciary duties by taking $300,000 from Bryant. West devised the scheme to rob Bryant, the lawsuit alleges, and Bryant asks the court to recover all losses, as well as any fees paid. "West proceeded with conscious indifference to Bryant's rights and welfare," it reads. It also claims West did not disclose pertinent facts to Bryant, calling him "deliberately silent."
Finally, citing the Texas Theft Liability Act, Bryant had a possessor right to money and property he earned through endorsement deals and other avenues. The lawsuit alleges West held that money and intended to deprive Bryant of it. In summation, the lawsuit states, "Such malicious and reckless conduct justifies an award of exemplary damages in addition to the actual damages incurred by Bryant for which it seeks recovery."