Walton Ensnared by Lawsuits

February 24, 1983
Bill Walton almost went on strike, simply because he had not been paid by the San DiegoClippers, which is less simply explained. The National Basketball Association franchise is enmeshed in a tangle of lawsuits and countersuits. First, the former owner, Ira Levin, and the current owner, Don Sterling, are suing each other over who has the responsibility to pay Walton. Levin, meanwhile, is suing Walton, saying the big center never told him he was injured when he signed with the club.

Jerry DaVee, the lawyer defending Walton in the Levin suit, learned that the player had not been paid for February. DaVee contacted Larry Fleisher, head of the National Basketball Players Association, who was prepared to go to arbitration to get Walton his money. However, before Fleisher could arrange a meeting with the arbitrator, Arthur Stark, and before Walton got serious about a contemplated sitdown, the money arrived.

What had taken it so long? Sterling's lawyer, Alan Rothenberg, had sent Walton's check to Levin (remember, Sterling asserts that Levin should pay Walton). Levin sent the check back to Rothenberg.

It finally got to Walton two days ago, giving Rothenberg the opportunity of sending a note to DaVee, which began: ''It would be helpful if before sending your obnoxious letters you would talk to your client.''

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