partlycloudy
Sunday September 23rd, 2018 4:12PM

Indians prospect sues over deal that ties up future earnings

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A top Cleveland Indians prospect is suing a company he claims gave him $360,000 in exchange for a 10 percent stake in his future earnings that could amount to millions of dollars.

Catcher Francisco Mejia claims in a federal lawsuit filed in February that the agreement is unfair and unenforceable, and that he didn't understand the extent to which he was mortgaging his future when he signed the contracts to get the money.

Mejia, who is from the Dominican Republic and has the equivalent of a ninth-grade education, claims in the suit filed on his behalf that Big League Advance Fund issued three separate "loans" to him in 2016 "under unconscionable terms and conditions and through unconscionable means," once when his mother was sick and the family needed money for medical treatment.

But Michael Schwimer, the former major league pitcher who runs the 2-year-old Fairfax, Virginia-based company, denies there was anything unfair or illegal about the deals and said they were explained in detail to the player in Spanish before he signed.

Mejia was given money he doesn't have to pay back if he doesn't make a career out of major league baseball, said Schwimer, who described it as an investment in the player's potential to sign a lucrative contract a few years down the road. He said he urges players to have their agents and lawyers involved, which Mejia did when he signed the first contract. Later, Mejia came back and sought the other two deals on his own.

"We never, ever, ever tell a player hey, you should sign this deal or you shouldn't sign this deal," Schwimer said. "My job is to simply tell a player that this exists, it's an option if you want it."

Schwimer said his investors are speculating that one or more of the prospects the company signs eventually will be a highly paid superstar. He likened it to Silicon Valley investors who put money into tech startups hoping one of them will become the next Facebook or Google. The company has signed and given money to about 100 minor league players and has so far lost money, he said.

The lawsuit contends that Mejia, regarded as one of the best prospects in baseball, could earn $100 million over the course of his career. That would yield $10 million for Schwimer's company on a $360,000 investment. The suit asks for the deal to be voided and compensatory damages paid to the player.

Mejia also claims that representatives from Big League Advance Fund showed up at his house in the Dominican Republic seeking more than $9,000 that they said he owed after his month in the majors. He claims the representatives threatened to sue him and keep him from playing baseball if he declined. He eventually handed over the payment.

The company acknowledges he paid them but denied there was the pressure he described.

"In this case, we allege, among other things, that the contract at issue is unconscionable," One of Mejia's attorneys, Anthony Buzbee, said in an email Tuesday. "By that I mean that in some situations, when there is a great disparity in bargaining power, and the terms of the contract are one sided, public policy would require dishonoring of the contract."

Mejia is hitting .292 in 408 at-bats in the Indians minor league system since 2013. He started this season one step from the majors at Triple-A Columbus, where he's hitting .250 with two home runs and nine RBIs in nine games. He made his major league debut with Cleveland on a call-up from Double-A Akron last September, collecting two hits in 13 plate appearances.

___

Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchstacy

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Sports - Major League Baseball, AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Pearl Jam aims to tap into youth movement with Montana show
Pearl Jam's brief North American tour this summer will include a stop in tiny Missoula, Montana, the part-time home of bassist Jeff Ament
6:08PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Mudslide survivors find hope in recovered belongings
A Facebook page is helping connect Southern California residents with family photos, jewelry and other items they lost when mudslides nearly wiped out the community of Montecito.
6:06PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Jury reviews testimony of border agent charged with murder
Jurors in Arizona are deliberating at the trial of a U.S. Border Patrol agent charged with murder in the cross-border shooting of a teenager who was throwing rocks at authorities during a drug-smuggling attempt
6:00PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Boston Marathon weather was perfect storm for Desiree Linden
In foul weather, Desiree Linden abandoned her planning and made up her mind to drop out of the Boston Marathon
5:45PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Olympian, Nassar victim McKayla Maroney trying to move on
Two-time Olympic medal winning gymnast McKayla Maroney says she has questioned whether she paid too high of a price for her success
5:45PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Indians prospect sues over deal that ties up future earnings
A top Cleveland Indians prospect is suing a company he claims gave him $360,000 in exchange for a 10-percent stake in his future earnings that could end up amounting to many millions of dollars
5:42PM ( 36 minutes ago )
AP Sports
LEADING OFF: Ohtani day, baseball in San Juan, DH in Toronto
LEADING OFF: Ohtani day, baseball in San Juan, DH in Toronto
3:29AM ( 14 hours ago )
Shear Power! Bryce Harper breaks bat in two on long home run
This was shear power by Bryce Harper
12:34AM ( 17 hours ago )
Didi hits 2 HRs, Stanton hitless vs Marlins, Yanks romp 12-1
Didi Gregorius homered twice for the second time this season, Gary Sanchez had three RBIs but Giancarlo Stanton was hitless and booed again as the New York Yankees romped to a 12-1 victory in their first game against Derek Jeter's Miami Marlins
12:16AM ( 18 hours ago )
AP Online Baseball
Suspect in Iceland's 'Big Bitcoin Heist' escapes prison
A prisoner in Iceland suspected of masterminding the theft of about 600 computers used to mine bitcoin has managed to escape custody and flee the remote North Atlantic nation on a passenger plane
5:34PM ( 44 minutes ago )
CSX railroad's first-quarter profit jumps to $695 million
CSX's first-quarter profit nearly doubled thanks to further cost cuts at the railroad and a restructuring that weighed on its earnings a year ago
5:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
Defending Trump in Russia probe? It's hardly a dream job
Lawyers asked to help represent President Donald Trump have spurned the assignment because of worries over nonpayment and bluster
4:58PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
US regulators float ideas for boosting medical device safety
US health officials propose steps to improve the government's oversight of medical devices
4:10PM ( 2 hours ago )
Bills to curtail LGBT rights are failing in US legislatures
Major legislation curtailing gay rights has been stymied in state capitols around the country this year
3:50PM ( 2 hours ago )
Dem senator: Trump VA pick vows not to privatize vets care
A key Democratic senator says President Donald Trump's pick to be Veterans Affairs secretary is promising not to privatize the agency
2:29PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Colon loses no-hit bid for Rangers in 8th vs Astros
Bartolo Colon has lost his bid for a no-hitter against the World Series champion Houston Astros when Josh Reddick doubled with nobody out in the eighth inning
10:21PM ( 1 day ago )
Colon working on no-hitter in 8th for Rangers vs Astros
Bartolo Colon has walked Carlos Correa leading off the eighth inning, the first baserunner allowed by the Texas Rangers right-hander against the World Series champion Houston Astros
10:10PM ( 1 day ago )
Colon perfect through 7 innings for Rangers vs Astros
Bartolo Colon is pitching a perfect game through seven innings for the Texas Rangers against the World Series champion Houston Astros
9:57PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
LEADING OFF: Wintry weather at Coors Field, Yankee Stadium
LEADING OFF: Wintry weather at Coors Field and Yankee Stadium, Cabrera rests hip injury, Tebow back for more after smashing Double-A debut
4:17AM ( 1 week ago )
Tim Tebow's Double-A debut a smash hit, homers on 1st pitch
Tim Tebow made his Double-A debut with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies one to remember, hitting a three-run homer on the first pitch he saw
10:39PM ( 1 week ago )
Tim Tebow hits 3-run homer on 1st pitch in Double-A for Mets
Tim Tebow made his Double-A debut with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies of the Eastern League one to remember, slamming a three-run homer on the first pitch he saw
7:41PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
Pearl Jam aims to tap into youth movement with Montana show
Pearl Jam's brief North American tour this summer will include a stop in tiny Missoula, Montana, the part-time home of bassist Jeff Ament
6:08PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Mudslide survivors find hope in recovered belongings
A Facebook page is helping connect Southern California residents with family photos, jewelry and other items they lost when mudslides nearly wiped out the community of Montecito.
6:06PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Jury reviews testimony of border agent charged with murder
Jurors in Arizona are deliberating at the trial of a U.S. Border Patrol agent charged with murder in the cross-border shooting of a teenager who was throwing rocks at authorities during a drug-smuggling attempt
6:00PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Trump bashes California on border mission, Brown sees a deal
President Donald Trump has slammed California Gov. Jerry Brown's posture on sending National Guard troops to the Mexican border
5:59PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Supreme Court strikes down as vague part of immigration law
Supreme Court strikes down as vague part of immigration law
5:56PM ( 22 minutes ago )