Contractual Issues

Carl Crawford Making Headlines for all the Wrong Reasons

The following article was written by Spencer Wingate.

Ever since Carl Crawford signed a seven year $142 million dollar contract with the Red Sox last year, it seems nothing has gone right. Crawford was supposed to give the Red Sox a speedy threat at the top of the order, but produced his worst season as a Major League player. Some Red Sox fans jokingly questioned if Crawford should be charged with fraud due to the results he was producing after his lucrative offer from the club. Now Crawford is actually being sued for such a charge. Earlier today, reported that Arturo McDowell has filed a Complaint against the outfielder and his brother GerCory Crawford in Harris County Court. McDowell, a former player, is suing the Crawfords due to the heavy loses he endured in a supposed joint venture construction company.

In the suit, McDowell claims he met Crawford at a program for top prospects in 2001. McDowell and Crawford quickly became good friends. In 2004, McDowell started a construction company called McDowell Enterprises out of his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. The company became successful as it helped rebuild New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. The complainant states that in 2007, Crawford invested $75,000 in the company conditionally. Crawford sought for McDowell to mentor his brother GerCory in real estate development.

The mortgage crisis in late 2007 left McDowell enterprises on the brink of bankruptcy. In an effort to continue the mentorship of his brother, Crawford suggested McDowell move the company to Houston. McDowell obliged and ran McDowell Enterprises dba M.E.A. Construction in 2008 and 2009. Crawford did not provide any financial help to McDowell, but he continued to mentor GerCory.

In February 2010, McDowell states that the Crawfords asked him about partnering on a new construction company called Pro-Source. The Crawfords were supposed to bring substantial business to the company, as it was only a part-time venture for McDowell. Carl was to receive 50% of the profits, McDowell 40%, and GerCory 10%. The initial startup was funded with McDowell’s life savings of $123,000 in April 2010. He negotiated for $30,000 of these funds to serve as GerCory’s salary.  McDowell also gave each of the Crawfords a $1,000 signing bonus in good faith. Despite the proposed structure of the joint business, McDowell claims the Crawfords never contributed any cash. In December 2010, McDowell started to work for Pro-Source full-time, allegedly due to Carl’s persuasion. He ceased working projects with M.E.A. Construction. Pro-Source became McDowell’s only source of income to support himself and his family.

A dispute arose in September 2011 as Pro-Source was developing a home for the Crawfords’ father. The contract was for $700,000 and the problems arose when the project was 95% done with a budget left of $100,000. GerCory asked McDowell to transfer the $100,000 into his bank account so he could finish the project. The complaint states that thirty days after he did so he was removed from the job by Carl.

Additionally, in October 2011 McDowell completed a roof on a different home by himself for $16,000. He deposited the money into Pro-Source’s account that was then used to finish the Crawfords’ father’s home. McDowell asserts he has yet to receive any profit from either project. He alleges that the Crawfords created a scheme to have him fund all capital to Pro-Source while keeping all the profits. McDowell asserts all of his attempts to contact the Crawfords’ have been ignored and he seeks reimbursement. He officially is charging the Crawfords with “accounting and damages for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, shareholder oppression, promissory estoppel, quantum meriut, and money had and received”.

Did Carl Crawford take advantage of his good friend; stealing his life savings, leaving him with nothing, and now will not even answer his phone calls? That remains to be seen as Crawford has not spoken on the lawsuit. McDowell’s side of the story has come out and surely the Crawfords will have a radically different take on the allegations. Crawford obviously is not hurting for money, so why would he ruin his friend’s life? Is McDowell just jealous of his friend and hoping to reap some of the profits from Carl? It would not be the first time an athlete was exploited nor would it be the first time an athlete committed a crime. Only time will tell the outcome. However, until then Crawford will continue to be newsworthy for all the wrong reasons.