Celebrities have been known to come up with some pretty creative excuses when facing eviction, but ex-NBA star Jayson Williams' is a new one: The former basketball great has filed a lawsuit against his country club claiming they kicked his friends out of his home because they don't like black people!
The stunning accusation came to light in court documents filed in May of last year and obtained by Radar. According to Williams' complaint, he left his friend Charles Houston in charge of his South Carolina mansion when he left the state in February 2010. Houston in turn "contracted with Micheal Walters, a licensed real estate broker with construction and real estate marketing skills" to help prepare the home for sale and provide security. Williams gave both men powers of attorney to do so.
All was going according to plan, the complaint alleges, until Houston told the country club's management company, Berkeley Hall Club, that they planned "to market the property to and among Jayson Williams' friends who had played professional basketball with him in the National Basketball Association, such as Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan… and other NBA stars and players who were primarily black professional athletes and entertainers who were known to be friends of Jayson Williams and his family members were financially capable of making the purchase of the home."
Not long after, the complaint claims, representatives of the Berkeley Hall Club "conspired together … to alienate, inhibit, injure, and prevent … plans to sell the home to another potential black buyer." Country club guards were told to deny both Houston and Walters entry into the complex, the suit claims, and they want to be reimbursed for the "irreparable injuries" they suffered for being evicted. Williams, as owner, should have had final say over who was staying in his home, the complaint insists.
But in a response to the complaint, Berkeley Hall's defendants presented different story. In those documents, filed in June of last year and obtained by Radar, the country club alleges that according to the terms of Williams' divorce from his wife, Tanya, she was permitted access to the home -- but not his pals.
"The complaint does not allege that Jayson Williams has been barred from his home," the plaintiffs point out. "Jayson Williams is still the owner of record of the Property. If Jayson Williams wanted access to the Property, Berkeley Hall Club Inc. would have to give him access. So far, Jayson Williams has not asked for access."
"Additionally," the documents continue, "Jayson Williams has the right … to appoint Houston and Walters as invitees, which would confer upon them the right to enter. To date he has not done so."
The case has dragged on for several months, with depositions just wrapping up this month. It's currently slated for a June 1 trial date.
The home has since been foreclosed.
Williams' estranged wife, Tanya Young Williams, tells Radar exclusively, "The case filed by Charles Houston alleging that Berkeley Hall was racist is utterly ridiculous. In fact, the civil rights violations claimed by Mr. Houston and his partner are laughable. The Berkeley Hall staff and community never acted in a manner inconsistent with my wishes and directives. Me, my children and my extended family have enjoyed countless trips to our home without ever experiencing racism from the executives or staff at Berkeley Hall. In fact, they went out of their ways to meet our needs. ... I am a Black woman who will scream the loudest when racism and discrimination are prevalent. Yet, I cannot stand idly by and allow my name to be associated with a baseless, race-based lawsuit which was filed due to greed and desperation. I will not let the “race-card” be played in this game ... Berkeley Hall did not violate anyone's civil rights in this matter. "