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Andy Roddick sues charity over $100K appearance fee

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Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick alleges that a charity never intended to pay him a $100,000 appearance fee. (Joe Scarnici/Getty Images).

Andy Roddick sued the cancer charity Miracle Match Foundation for theft, breach of contract and fraud stemming from an unpaid $100,000 appearance fee for an exhibition match he played in Connecticut last September, according to the Courthouse News Service.

The retired former U.S. Open champion claimed he received two $50,000 checks a week before his match and meet-and-greet with sponsors. But Roddick alleged that the checks bounced three days after the charity event, which included current ATP player Jack Sock, former WTA player Gigi Fernandez and LuAnn de Lesseps from The Real Housewives of New York. Miracle Match never intended to compensate him, according to Roddick.

Tennis player and cancer survivor Bill Przybysz established the Miracle Match Foundation in 1997. Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Anna Kournikova are among the players who have participated in the leukemia foundation’s annual charity matches over the years.

Last March, a Michigan television report detailed the foundation’s woes.

[T]he foundation has generated few funds for sick kids or leukemia research.

According to its 2004 financial statements filed with the IRS, Miracle Match was able to spend only $3,616 on “sick kids/family support” and nothing for research, while listing a negative balance of $377,000 for that year.

The 2004 financial statement was the last one provided to the IRS and it wasn’t sent until 2010.  That is why the IRS withdrew the foundation’s non-profit status in 2010 as it cracked down on charities that failed to make financial reports.

Roddick’s decision to sue the charity has drawn the ire of a few bloggers. But Roddick told Tennis.com that if he wins the suit he’ll give the money to the very charities that were supposed to benefit from the exhibition.

“I simply expect Miracle Match Foundation to live up to their word and obligations,” Roddick said in a statement released to TENNIS.com. “They have repeatedly had issues paying the participants of their matches and very little of the money raised from these events actually goes to charity. 100% of the money I win in this case will go to the charities, which were originally supposed to benefit from that night.”

Here’s video from the sparsely attended charity event held at Mohegan Sun Arena on Sept. 14. Roddick had retired a week earlier after losing in the fourth round of the U.S. Open.

  • Published On Feb 25, 2013
  • 10 comments
    Big Daddy1
    Big Daddy1

    Charity means Roddick should have played for no monetary gain. So they are all wrong from the beginning. Charity is to give not receive. How could you play in a charity event if you are getting paid?

    SamDennis
    SamDennis

    What's surprising is that Andy, and other athletes, don't have advisors who take the time to check out the promoters of events in which they intend to participate. A simple Internet search would have shown that Miracle Match was no longer authorized by the IRS to collect tax deductible donations.   And why didn't Andy or his manager have his bank verify that either or both of those checks were good?  Sorry Andy, you're smart enough to know better.

    KevinDoucette
    KevinDoucette

    Considering how shady many so called charities are these days I'm on Roddicks side all the way on this one. They used him to make money for themselves but gave him nothing in return.

    6marK6
    6marK6

    I am not sure either of the two sides are completely pure. 

    conor.t.mccartney
    conor.t.mccartney

    It looks like he is trying to expose a sham charity, good for him. By suing them he very well may gain access to their books and be able to shine light on a charity that sounds very shady.

    badgernation74
    badgernation74

    Roddick's motives here are good. He's done a lot of charity work through his own foundation and helped many others. I'm glad he sued to force an investigation of where the money went. If they didn't keep their word to Andy, did they put the money they did raise toward the charity at all?

    clu
    clu

     @Big Daddy1 It's a charity event held to get others to donate, and you attract those potential donors by paying stars to come perform at your event.  There's nothing that says the celebrities they *hire* have to donate a dime, even if most do for the positive press.

    SamDennis
    SamDennis

     @conor.t.mccartney ...waste of time suing ...the Charity obviously has nothing, and the promoter is probably broke or judgment proof. Andy is just wasting money ...

    RyanC883
    RyanC883

     @SamDennis  @conor.t.mccartney   Andy is not wasting time at all.  The discovery process of the litigation will enable Andy, and the public, to see what's going on with this charity.  Hopefully the FBI investigates as well.