Former Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green claims that wealthy real estate developer Paul Pelosi stiffed him for $1.5 million and has filed a lawsuit against Nancy Pelosi’s husband for breach of contract. Nancy Pelosi is the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and now minority leader after the Democrats lost control of the chamber in 2010.
Green claims he is owed the money for coaching the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League, a team owned by Paul Pelosi and a business partner. Pelosi also owns part of the league itself. Green’s legal papers allege that he hasn’t been paid since January 2011.
When he bought the Sacramento franchise prior to the league’s inaugural 2009 season, Paul Pelosi told the Washington Post that it wasn’t a vanity project: “This is a business, I look at it as a business,” he said. “I’m in this because I think it is a very solid financial investment that is going to be very successful.”
The Sacramento Bee has further details on Dennis Green’s breach-of-contract case against Paul Pelosi:
In his lawsuit, the 63-year-old Green says he agreed to join the Mountain Lions after being assured by league founder and investment banking tycoon William Hambrecht of “sufficient funding to assure the success of the UFL, including Green’s agreed-upon compensation.”
Based on those promises, Green says he bought a home in Sacramento and relocated from San Diego.
In general, the legal term for this type of situation is detrimental reliance. The league has also been hit by lawsuits from other creditors for unpaid bills.
The United Football League evidently was financially troubled from the jump according to RantSports.com:
Green knew perfectly well that he was getting himself involved in a shady league that did not seem to have much of a future. However, the $1.5 million guaranteed contract enticed him enough to drop everything and join the team. He even had the reassurance that Pelosi would pay for his expenses, but unfortunately, that was not the case.
The Washington Free Beacon notes that the fledgling league never had the structure in place to be a success and was unable to find additional investors.
Pelosi, however, did not take any of the steps required of a start-up sports league. There were no major television deals, corporate sponsorships, or signature tournament or playoff games—ingredients considered to be the staples of successful leagues.
The Beacon adds that although Nancy Pelosi, who is one of the most wealthy members of Congress, is a big supporter of organized labor, “the couple has refused to hire unions to work in its vineyard and other business interests, even as Pelosi has collected $365,500 in political contributions from labor groups in 2012.”
Coach Dennis Green is well known for his “the Bears are who we thought they were” press conference outburst after the Arizona Cardinals blew a 20-point lead against Chicago in 2006. Watch the clip below:
Have you ever heard of the United Football League?