Lawsuit offers glimpse at what Spurs are dealing with in 'Kawhi's group'
Kawhi Leonard's ex-agent claims he's owed more than $1.4 million
SAN ANTONIO – A lawsuit filed in federal court last month says that Kawhi Leonard's ex-agent, Brian Elfus, is owed at least $1.4 million by the sports management group currently managing Leonard, Impact Sports Basketball.
While the goal of Elfus' lawsuit is to recover monies he said he's owed, it also details the various suspect business dealings the lawsuit claims ISB engaged in and also paints a larger picture of the potential motives of those currently advising Leonard.
The complaint sheds light on the inner workings of the company, including that Leonard's mother, Kim Robertson, and uncle, Dennis Robertson, have been on the payroll "for at least the last five years," and that payments were made to a "KL3" and "KL4" for a combined value of more than $33,000 -- all without Elfus' knowledge. Elfus represented Leonard from 2011 to 2016.
The lawsuit states that as Leonard's agent, Elfus was supposed to be consulted on those expenditures, among others cited in the lawsuit, but was never consulted.
Elfus said that despite aforementioned expenses ISB incurred, he was never paid commission on Leonard, or other players, aside from a $1.2 million commission from a former NBA player.
Elfus said that Mitch Frankel, Leonard's current agent, told him that "if Elfus' clients were profitable, then Elfus would get paid on them." But he said he was never paid specific commissions, despite generating more than $5 million in commissions in the six years he was with the sports management group.
Court documents reference Leonard's marketing deals with Jordan Brand, BBVA and Wingstop and Leonard's nearly $100 million extension with the Spurs in 2015 that he helped engineer.
Elfus argues that he was such an integral part of Leonard's extension that Spurs general manager R.C. Buford penned him a letter that thanked him for "(keeping) Kawhi a part of our family for years to come."
The lawsuit also cites an ESPN article that suggested the beginning of the Kawhi Leonard-Spurs drama was in 2016, when Frankel became Leonard's agent.
Spurs sources point to Elfus' departure in 2016 as a turning point in the relationship. He had maintained a strong relationship with the Spurs' front office and coaching staff and generally managed the relationship without incident. - Michael C. Wright of ESPN
The complaint states that in 2016 or 2017, around the time Elfus left the financially troubled ISB and IMPACT, the company received a $10 million investment from billionaire Jeff Sutton through Sutton's son, Joseph Sutton.
According to the lawsuit, the Suttons wanted to form a sports management group focused on representing basketball players, with Leonard as their main client. The lawsuit also claims that the Suttons created shell companies to get out of paying debts owed to Elfus and others.
Elfus said he reached out to Leonard's camp in April of this year to recover the monies he said he was owed and that an attorney for Leonard referenced a contract that stated Leonard should pay ISB and that ISB would give Elfus his cut.
Elfus states that while Leonard paid ISB, the company never paid him -- affirming that Elfus' bone to pick is with the company and not with Leonard.
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