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Kelly Defends His Comments on Agent

April 2, 1998

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) _ Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly said his former agent mismanaged his investments. The agent said he was libeled.

Under questioning by sports agent A.J. Faigin’s lawyer on Wednesday, Kelly acknowledged he never recalled talking with Faigin about investments and seldom read the material he received that might have explained investments.

``I just relied on these guys, and if they thought it was a good investment, I would go along with it,″ he told the federal court jury. ``I trusted these guys.

``I was playing football. I didn’t know about those things.″

Faigin sued over accusations Kelly made in his autobiography, ``Armed and Dangerous,″ that Faigin mismanaged Kelly’s money. Faigin said he did not handle the player’s investments.

Faigin’s suit seeks an undisclosed amount of money, though he said he has lost more than $1 million in business because of the book.

Kelly was scheduled to take the stand again today.

Faigin’s lawyer, Alan Mandel, pointed out a number of investment checks signed by Kelly or one of his brothers with Kelly’s approval. Mandel showed Kelly a copy of a $300,000 check signed by his brother, and asked, ``You don’t hold A.J. Faigin responsible for writing this check?″

``You better believe I do,″ Kelly answered.

He said he paid Lustig Pro Sports money to take care of his investments. Faigin was an officer in the company.

``It wasn’t until my brother hit me on the side of the head and said, `These fellows are taking advantage of you,‴ that he took notice, he said.

But he acknowledged at one point, ``You have to take some responsibility, which I do.″

Faigin testified earlier that he negotiated good contracts for Kelly and had nothing to do with investing his money. Faigin said he landed Kelly a record contract with the Bills in 1986 for $8.5 million.

Faigin said he left Lustig Pro Sports in 1987, before Kelly fired the agency, because he didn’t like the way owner Greg Lustig was running the business.

Kelly’s lawyer, Steve Gordon of Concord, has said Kelly’s statements are not libelous for two reasons _ Kelly believed what he wrote and Faigin knew about the alleged mismanagement of his money.

The trial, in its third week, is being heard in Concord because New Hampshire gives people a longer time to file libel suits than most other states.

Kelly, who retired last year after a brilliant career that included four Super Bowl appearances with Buffalo, sued Faigin in 1989, claiming, among other things, breach of fiduciary duties. Part of the suit was settled in arbitration, which led to a $700,000 payment to Kelly from two brokerage firms for improper investments.

Faigin was not forced to pay damages.

Kelly voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit five years later.

Later, Faigin was awarded $11,000 from Kelly because the court ruled Kelly had filed a frivolous lawsuit against Faigin in 1989.

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