Mike Miller is no longer a member of the Miami Heat, but it appears as though the two sides aren't done doing business yet. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the sharpshooting swingman is aiming to recoup $1.7 million in financial losses that he believes the organization is responsible for.
According to Jackson, Miller lost $1.7 million in a scam allegedly orchestrated by South Beach "bling king" Haider Zafar.
Miller was reportedly introduced to Zafar by former Heat executive vice president of sales Stephen Weber, and gave the con artist $2 million to go into a private investment fund. Zafar repaid Miller $300,000 of that money, but the rest of the cash didn't go where it was supposed to.
Zafar allegedly defrauded Miller because he owed the Heat $3 million for three years of courtside tickets and additional benefits. Despite only paying the team back $700,000 of that $3 million—money Miller claims is his—Weber reportedly continued to endorse Zafar, assuring Miller that he was trustworthy.
For that reason, Miller is holding the Heat liable, as stated in a complaint from his attorney, Andrew Fine:
Prior to introducing Zafar to Miller and prior to representing that Zafar was a suitable business and investment partner, the Heat…and Weber had a duty to fully investigate whether that patron was, in fact, a suitable partner.
Upon discovering information that would have led a reasonable person to conclude that Zafar was a fraud…the Heat and Weber had a duty to notify Miller, instead of continuing to endorse Zafar…. Due to the acts and omission of the Heat and Weber, Zafar was able to steal a large amount of money from Miller.
Heat forwards James Jones and Rashard Lewis were also allegedly defrauded by Zafar, although neither is currently seeking reparations.
Miller and the Heat have reportedly been in talks to resolve the issue, but the two sides have been unable to come to terms, according to Fine. Miller is asking for that $700,000 back from the Heat, plus attorney’s fees.
Should the Heat be held responsible for Miller's financial losses?
Zafar is currently imprisoned in Ohio due to potential fraud charges stemming from another case, according to Jackson.
Miller has not yet filed a lawsuit, but if the Heat are unwilling to play ball, he and his legal counsel may be left with no other choice.
A key bench player for the Heat in consecutive championship-winning seasons, Miller was an amnesty casualty this past offseason and has since signed with the Memphis Grizzlies.
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