LOS ANGELES – A judge Wednesday dismissed a man’s lawsuit claiming the Los Angeles Clippers and Jerry West stiffed him on an oral agreement to pay him $2.5 million in exchange for helping the team sign star forward Kawhi Leonard.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jon Takasugi wrote in a ruling that Johnny Wilkes failed to prove that he had reached any enforceable contractual agreement with West or the team for assistance luring Leonard to the Clippers.
“Accordingly, even looking at the acts and conduct of the parties, the only reasonable inference supported by the evidence is that there was not an agreement for plaintiff to be paid $2.5 million in exchange for an act or forbearance, nor did plaintiff promise to perform specific services in exchange for $2.5 million,” the judge wrote.
Wilkes alleged in his suit brought in December 2020 that he and West reached a verbal deal in 2019 in which Wilkes would provide the Clippers with information to lure Leonard to Los Angeles, taking advantage of the plaintiff’s close relationship with Leonard and the player’s uncle, Dennis Robertson.
In depositions, West, now 84, and Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank said West was a consultant to the team and an independent contractor, but that he did not have any authority to enter into any kind of contract on behalf of the Clippers with Wilkes or anyone else.
Despite the deposition testimony, Wilkes alleges that West made representations to the contrary in their alleged dealings, culminating in a contract between the two in which the Clippers became bound to pay the plaintiff $2.5 million.
Wilkes alleged in his lawsuit that the agreement was reached during a June 28, 2019, phone call with West.
But in his ruling, Takasugi wrote that according to the plaintiff’s own deposition testimony, statements allegedly made in that conversation are “too vague and uncertain to support a claim that Mr. West, either in his personal capacity or on behalf of the Clippers, promised to pay plaintiff $2.5 million for his help.”