Now it looks like the tight end will imitate Brady, the defendant in state and federal lawsuits targeting his promotion of Bitcoin, in another way: Account holders at Voyager Digital, which is in Chapter 11 proceedings, have their sights set on Gronkowski.
Plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against the Dallas Mavericks and team owner Mark Cuban, sued for promoting Voyager, issued a subpoena to Gronkowski last month, according to court documents. Gronkowski in September 2021 endorsed Voyager, become a brand ambassador.
Gronkowski has not been named as a defendant in the lawsuit, at least not yet. But in court documents and in an email, lawyers for the plaintiffs make it clear that they are considering suing the likely Hall of Famer.
“Voyager Brand Ambassadors of the nflNASCAR may be added ‘even near trial,’” plaintiffs’ attorney wrote in a Dec. 30 email to Cuban’s attorney. The eight-page email, added as evidence to a motion filed last week, shows Gronkowski’s subpoena added as an attachment, though it is not available in the court filing. NASCAR driver Landon Cassill was also a sponsor of Voyager.
“We have established Rob Gronkowski’s statements,” Adam Moskowitz, the plaintiffs’ attorney, wrote in the email.
Asked if the retired tight end is likely to be a defendant, Moskowitz wrote to the athletic, “Not a named defendant yet, but the court gave us until February 24 to file an amended complaint against Voyager (such as adding defendants, claims and plaintiffs), we know he was a ‘Brand Ambassador’ for Voyager who ‘promoted’ ‘ unsecured securities (the ‘interest accounts’). We served you a third-party subpoena and have named all of FTX’s ‘Brand Ambassadors’ in our pending federal class action lawsuit.”
Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, declined to comment.
Moskowitz’s reference to FTX refers to a class action lawsuit he filed against Brady, his ex-wife Gisele Bündchen, Naomi Osaka, Shohei Ohtani, David Ortiz and other celebrities including Larry David, for their promotion of FTX, which like Voyager also it is in Chapter 11 Proceedings. The lawyer also has a state case in Florida targeting Brady and Ortiz.
Tom Brady, David Ortiz sued again over FTX endorsements
All of these lawsuits raise the question of what culpability celebrity endorsers have for promoting a financial product that fails. Could Brady, Gronkowski and their peers be on the hook for losses as the cryptocurrency ecosystem collapses?
A ruling in a case brought against Floyd Mayweather, Kim Kardashian and basketball Hall of Famer Paul Pierce suggested not. In dismissing a lawsuit alleging that celebrity promotion of the failed cryptocurrency Ethereum Max was fraud, federal judge Michael Fitzgerald wrote last year: “The court recognizes that this action raises legitimate concerns about the ability of celebrities to persuade easily attract millions of undiscerning followers to buy snakes. oil with unprecedented ease and range. But while the law certainly places limits on those advertisers, it also expects investors to act reasonably before basing their bets on the zeitgeist.”
When Voyager named Gronkowski as a sponsor, the press release promoting the alliance quoted him as saying, “The Voyager app is very easy to use right out of the box. It has a huge selection of over 60 different coins and pays up to 12 percent rewards annually, depending on which coins you hold. When I looked at the competition, it seemed like a no-brainer. Together Voyager and I are bringing crypto to everyone.”
Meanwhile, the underlying lawsuit to which Gronkowski may be added is heating up, with the plaintiffs accusing the Mavs and Cuban of trying to get a plaintiff who may have cancer to travel for a plea. Moskowitz in court filings seeks to replace allegedly ill named plaintiff with new litigants.
“Mr. Gold cannot proceed to litigate your claim or act in a class representative capacity as, unfortunately, he has just been informed that he may have advanced prostate cancer and is dealing with significant medical issues in that regard.” Moskowitz wrote of Sanford Gold “The defendants have insisted on requiring Mr. Gold to travel for his deposition on January 24, 2023.”
In a response filed this week, Cuban’s lawyers call Gold “a three-time convicted felon with an indisputable record of involvement in financial fraud.” And they wrote as recently as a discovery hearing on January 6: “There was no indication at the hearing, to the contrary, that Sanford Gold may have health problems, despite the fact that the time and place of his declaration”.
The Cuban side does not oppose the removal of Gold, but opposes the addition of more identified claimants and seeks a hearing on the dispute.
Cuban is accused of not only promoting Voyager through sponsoring the Mavericks team with the platform, but also through crypto conferences held in Miami and online. The allegation, as with the FTX and other claims, is in part that the athletes sold securities without a license.
In last week’s motion, Moskowitz wrote: “The bold and in some cases abusive tactics of the defendants in the discovery (none of which is based on any legal authority) is apparently a promise they made to their client, namely, what if… attack and try to discredit the current representatives of the Florida plaintiffs, citing prior events that had nothing to do with the purchase of the unregistered EPAs. It will somehow show that the plaintiffs have no standing and therefore will quickly win the case before Mr. Cuban has to answer for the damages he caused them and the classes they purport to represent.”
The court ruled that the plaintiff can depose Cuban next month. Mavs executives Ryan Mackey (Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships) and Kyle Tapply (Senior Director of Corporate Partnerships) are also scheduled to testify.
(Photo: Kim Klement/USA Today)