MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Broward-based advertising agency filed a lawsuit seeking $250 million in damages against the Seminoles and several members of its Board and Tribal Council.
The lawsuit was filed in a Broward Circuit Court by Attorney Gary Phillips on behalf of the Mobile Mike Media Group.
The media group, according to the filed complaint, entered business with the Seminole Tribe of Florida in 2011 as a result of a “long standing relationship with the Tribe and many of its members” to handle its advertising, events and promotions.
According to court documents, Phillips is seeking damages for fraudulent inducement, break of fiduciary duty, conspiracy to induce Mobile Mike to enter an operating agreement and engage in a “sham” to deny Mobile Mike of its business and civil RICO.
The lawsuit claims that Tribal leaders backed out no the agreement and “directed their media business to tribal member Sally Tommie instead.”
“This is their M.O.,” Phillips is quoted as saying in the attorney’s press release, “They contract with proven experts to launch projects then they ignore the contract and cherry pick someone else to reap the rewards.”
The lawsuit states, according to Phillips, that members of the Tribe engaged in a “carefully planned and orchestrated, intricate, sinister and devious course of action.”
Phillips believes, according to the lawsuit, that Tribal leaders are hiding behind what they believe to be the protection of sovereign immunity laws.
It doesn’t matter who they are or how wealthy they are,” Phillips said, “they can’t enter into beneficial, legal contracts and then just stop paying because they feel like it.
Gary Bitner, spokesperson for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, in response to the lawsuit, said, “The Tribe is a convenient target for frivolous lawsuits. Anyone can file a lawsuit about anything, and factual accuracy is not required.”