Heated partnership dispute flares up again involving former Lakers star

Alongside Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, small forward Rick Fox helped the Los Angeles Lakers to three NBA titles in the late ’90s and early 2000s. After his basketball career ended, Fox dove deeper into an acting career, landing a variety of roles in sitcoms and dramatic series.

The former hoopster branched out again in 2015 when he and investor Amit Raizada acquired an online gaming franchise that they rebranded as Echo Fox. Last year, Fox accused Raizada of making racist remarks in a discussion with him and another cofounder. The two then exchanged lawsuits. Raizada and others sued Fox to oust him from the venture, arguing he had worked against the company’s interests. In turn, Fox sued Raizada, alleging fraud and breach of contract.

After settlements were reached, a new lawsuit was filed

After settling multiple lawsuits back in October 2019, according to documents filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the dispute between cofounders Fox and Raizada has heated up once again. Now Raizada, who operates out of both Southern California and South Florida, is suing Fox and Echo Fox both, claiming the former basketball player and partner publicly defamed him in 2018 and that Echo Fox allowed him to do so. According to a recent news article, Raizada made his initial fortune in online payday lending ventures before he teamed up with the ex-player and businessman Stratton Sclavos to purchase the e-sports team they renamed as Echo Fox.

The Echo Fox franchise got off to a quick start, securing financial backing from NBA star Kevin Durant and the NFL’s Odell Beckham Jr. before financial troubles began in 2018 and disputes arose between the various partners and investors. Fox has alleged Raizada used investor cash to lease a Beverly Hills home, pay himself a $350,000 salary and ring up a six-figure expense account tally.

Partnership disputes can be destructive to businesses

As this story proves, partnership and shareholder disputes can be among some of the most destructive disputes to businesses. Relationships between friends, colleagues or even family members can be destroyed, as can the business in many cases. When facing a partnership dispute, it is essential to work with an experienced attorney from the start to preserve both the business and the relationship, when possible.