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Clothier Says Camby Charged $1,000 Worth of Clothes to Would-be Agent

June 12, 1996

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ A clothier says Marcus Camby and two of his friends charged at least $1,800 worth of clothes to the credit card account of the Hartford trial lawyer who wanted to be Camby’s agent.

Jack Daswani, owner of Daswani and Sons, Inc., in West Hartford, said in a statement that he sold Camby’s two friends suits each worth $400 in January, and $1,000 worth of clothes to Camby that the Massachusetts All American himself picked out April 1.

All the sales were charged to the credit card of Wesley S. Spears, the Hartford trial lawyer who Camby has accused of trying to blackmail him in a failed attempt to woo him as a client.

Camby’s friends wore their Daswani suits in a promotional video intended to induce Camby to sign a contract with Spears.

Portions of the promotional video and a copy of the written statement by Daswani were released to The Hartford Courant by Spears’ lawyer, Hubert J. Santos.

The video, produced by Spears, was shown to Camby sometime during last season, according to Santos. In the video, Tamia Murray and Boris Wray, two of Camby’s closest friends, explain that they were part of a team put together by Spears to represent Camby. They described what they would do for the player if he signed with Spears.

The video could be violation of NCAA rules.

``If the agent is trying to induce the player through friends, that’s a violation,″ said Athena Yiamouyiannis, director of legislative services for the NCAA.

Camby, Murray and Wray were unavailable for comment.

ProServ Attorney James Bryant, representing Camby, reached in Enid, Okla., would not comment. He said he had talked with state prosecutors Tuesday and was asked not to comment publicly on the case.

The Hartford State’s Attorney’s office launched a criminal investigation after Camby filed a complaint last week saying Spears tried to blackmail him into signing a contract.

Camby decided to forego his senior year at UMass and entered the NBA draft. He is expected to be among the first three draft choices June 26.

A friend of the Camby family has said Spears told him he spent up to $75,000 on Camby and his friends while trying to get the basketball star to sign a contract.

Camby admitted taking $1,000 in cash from Spears after the season was over, and said he got a pendant and two gold chains worth $5,300 from Murray and Wray. He said he later learned the jewelry had been purchased by Spears.

He also said in a tape-recorded interview published by The Courant last week that he received ``a couple thousand″ from another agent, John Lounsbury, between his sophomore and junior years. Since then Bryant has said Camby never said that.

If friends benefit from a student-athlete’s athletic ability, that is considered an extra benefit and a violation of NCAA rules.

``We would have to look at it on a fact-by-fact basis,″ Yiamouyiannis said.

If Camby accepted a sport coat from Daswani’s shop during the season, it would be an NCAA violation. Santos said Murray took a sport coat for Camby with him, apparently in late January, when he left the store. No one could say when Camby received the coat.

If Camby’s friends accepted the suits it also could be a technical violation of NCAA rules, said David Berst, NCAA group executive director for enforcement and eligibility appeals.

But, Berst added, if Camby didn’t know they took inducements from a potential agent, sanctions against UMass would be unlikely. However, if Camby learned the source of the suits or the sport coat during the season, Berst said the school’s NCAA Tournament revenue and victories _ estimated to be about $160,000 _ could be in jeopardy.