NCR Country Club sues 10-time NBA champ over event payment

NCR Country Club has sued former Ohio State University basketball standout and 10-time NBA champion assistant coach Jim Cleamons and others for not paying $75,000 owed for a celebrity golf outing.

The First Annual Jim Cleamons Celebrity Golf Classic and Charity Event to be “headlined” by Phil Jackson and Lenny Wilkens was billed as a star-studded event with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Jerry West possibly attending the fundraiser for Cleamons’ now-defunct charity Hoopology, according to court records.

None of those basketball luminaries attended – the complaint says they were never asked — but 300 people did play golf at the Aug. 20, 2018, event at NCR South, according to a complaint filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

RELATED: Organizers touted celebrities planning to attend

“I have heard but I have no real knowledge and so I don’t have a comment at this time, unfortunately,” said Cleamons, reached Monday by telephone. “But whatever the dispute is, I’m hopeful that it will be able to be resolved.”

Cleamons said Hoopology — with a stated mission to teach student-athletes, increase literacy and interest in math and science — has disbanded. The phone number with the Columbus-based charity was disconnected, and no one answered an email seeking comment.

“People make allegations, and it’s tough,” Cleamons said. “You have to let them know that you’re above board and above reproach in how you handle your business.”

Cleamons won an NBA title as a rookie guard with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1971-72. He also won nine championships as an assistant coach under Jackson with the Lakers and Chicago Bulls.

Along with Cleamons, his wife Cheryl and Hoopology, NCR also named as defendants Ron Edwards and his wife, Arnika Edwards, the University of Dayton women’s basketball director of operations.

RELATED: Edwards said event ‘is going to be a big deal’

The allegations include that along with not paying for everything in the contract for the event, Ron Edwards invented a fictitious person as a contact – John Jacobs – who didn’t provide any help when NCR asked about the $75,880.12 owed.

Edwards denied inventing John Jacobs, said NCR at first didn’t bill correctly and said he was disappointed.

“I have worked very closely with NCR to resolve this, and I’m just totally shocked that they would do this,” Edwards said. “The bills that were paid, everybody got paid, it seems like NCR is the only entity that hadn’t got paid yet.”

Ron Edwards “kept up the charade of the star celebrities attending the outing even up to the day before the outing when he requested golf tee times for Jordan, Pippin [sic] and Bryant, advising that they were in town,” said the complaint, written by attorney David Duwell, who didn’t return a message seeking comment. “This also turned out to be false information.”

Edwards said he didn’t personally “put anything out there that would say that particular celebrity would be there or this particular celebrity would be there.”

RELATED: Lenny Wilkens, Phil Jackson were to headline event

Edwards talked to about the event and was the contact person for a press release about the golf tourney “to be headlined by Phil Jackson and Lenny Wilkens with several speaking engagements around the event.”

Edwards said he’s “100 percent” sure Cleamons invited all the big-name celebrities but that several had reasons they couldn’t attend.

Edwards said Jackson had surgery, Wilkens’ wife was ill, John Starks broke his hand and others had scheduling conflicts. Edwards said there were celebrities attending such as Willis Reed, Paul Warfield and others.

“This event was tremendous from the aspect of first-class facilities,” Edwards said. “We tried our best to make sure that we did the right thing for this community. I can hold my head up and say that we did that.”

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