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Ballmer’s signature was forged on ‘phony’ document in latest lawsuit, his lawyer says

A lawyer for Steve Ballmer says the previous Microsoft CEO’s signature was forged on a key document in a lawsuit against Ballmer over an alleged $5 million monetary consulting settlement associated to his early efforts to amass an NBA staff.

The document, dated Dec. 9, 2009, purports to create an “Company Settlement” between Ballmer and his longtime pal, former Seattle Sonics coach Steve Gordon, giving Gordon the authority to behave on Ballmer’s behalf in pursuit of an NBA staff, lengthy earlier than Ballmer’s present settlement to amass the L.A. Clippers for $2 billion.

The go well with, filed final week in King County Superior Court docket, alleges that Gordon subsequently struck an settlement with Seattle-based funding advisor Cambrea Ezell to handle $1 billion in funds put aside by Ballmer to fund a professional basketball bid. Ezell claims that Ballmer and Gordon owe her agency, Reign Capital Administration, greater than $5 million underneath that monetary administration settlement.

Nevertheless, Ballmer was unaware of any settlement with Ezell, and what’s extra, he by no means entered into the unique partnership with Gordon, mentioned Andrew Kinstler, a lawyer for Ballmer, in an e mail to GeekWire this morning. Kinstler offered a duplicate of a letter from February of this yr in which he knowledgeable Ezell’s lawyer, Joseph Grube, that the unique company settlement was not actual.

Kinstler instructed Grube in that letter that there was “an obvious try at a fraud being perpetrated on my shopper in this matter.”

Ballmer sometimes indicators his identify as “Steven A. Ballmer” on authorized paperwork, however the purported company settlement with Gordon reveals the previous Microsoft CEO’s signature as “Steve Ballmer.” Gordon’s identify can be misspelled in the document as Steven B. Gordon, slightly than his precise identify, Stephen B. Gordon.

Kinstler mentioned by way of e mail this morning that his workplace has turned over the difficulty of the “phony” settlement to the King County Prosecutor’s Workplace on behalf of Ballmer, and is cooperating with the prosecutor’s workplace in its investigation into the state of affairs.

“Upon reviewing the connected paperwork we shortly decided that Mr. Ballmer’s signature on the so-called ‘Company Settlement’ was a forgery, and that Mr. Ballmer had not signed or ever seen that document earlier than, or some other paperwork having something to do with Ms. Ezell or her enterprise,” Kinstler mentioned in his e mail this morning.

Ballmer’s lawyer added, “Whereas we have now robust suspicions concerning who forged Mr. Ballmer’s signature on that document, at this level the one information we all know with certainty is that Mr. Ballmer didn’t signal the document, and had no information of it, or something associated to it, till the document was despatched to us by Mr. Grube. Mr. Grube’s shopper had contacted Mr. Ballmer beforehand with a requirement for ‘cost’ however had not offered any documentation or different proof concerning her claims, regardless of repeated requests for the premise of her unusual declare that Mr. Ballmer owed her cash.”

We’ve left messages with Grube and the King County Prosecutor’s Workplace looking for remark on the case.

[Update: Grube says he believes the document and signature to be valid, and his client intends to continue to pursue the case.]

That is the latest authorized entanglement involving Gordon, a former Seattle Sonics basketball coach generally known as “Hat Man” in NBA circles. In an earlier go well with, scientist Thomas Bukowski filed a lawsuit claiming that he’s owed $10 million by Gordon, and alleging that Ballmer is on the hook for $3 million of that debt, based mostly on agreements between Ballmer and Gordon. Ballmer has denied any obligation for these money owed.

That earlier go well with alleged that Ballmer promised to cowl Gordon’s thousands and thousands of {dollars} in debt if the previous Sonics coach checked himself right into a psychiatric hospital. Ballmer’s relationship with Gordon dates again a pair many years, together with early morning basketball coaching periods. Gordon has additionally labored with Paul Allen and his NBA staff, the Portland Path Blazers.

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