Ex-Jets Linebacker Thomas Sues Attorney Over $1 Million

A company owned by former New York Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas sued an Alabama attorney and several of his businesses, claiming he was defrauded of a $1 million investment in a waste-to-energy company.

Thomas is the principal and managing member of Thomas Global Group LLC, which sued Donald V. Watkins, a Birmingham attorney who owns Watkins Pencor LLC, according to a complaint in federal court in Newark, New Jersey.

Thomas, a Birmingham native, invested $1 million in Watkins Pencor in March 2009 after Watkins gave him “highly optimistic representations regarding the profit potential and low risk of the investment opportunity,” according to the complaint filed Aug. 13.

Watkins represented that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had joined the board of a Watkins Pencor affiliate and Martin Luther King III was politically promoting Watkins’s business interests. Four years later, Thomas “has not received back one dollar” and “has not been provided with any information or detail of any kind,” according to the complaint.

Watkins didn’t immediately return a call yesterday seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The Jets released Thomas, 34, last year after he had played with the football team since 2002.

The case is Thomas Global Group LLC v. Watkins, 13-cv-04864, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

To contact the reporter on this story: David Voreacos in Newark at dvoreacos@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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