COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An Ohio woman claims in a lawsuit that she was threatened into giving a LeBron James jersey pendant worth about $10,000 to the mother of the NBA star's business manager.
VaNeisha Robinson of Akron filed the lawsuit last month in Medina County Common Pleas Court in northeast Ohio. She said she turned over the diamond-encrusted pendant out of fear for her safety after she was invited to the Wadsworth home that Katherine Powers shares with son Maverick Carter, CEO of James' marketing company, Cleveland-based LRMR.
Robinson said the pendant was in a box of items she bought for $5 at a garage sale about five years ago. She said she was unaware of its value until she had it appraised in May and considers herself its legal owner. She claims Powers lured her to her home in July by saying that she wanted to buy it and that James would be there.
The suit makes several allegations, including false imprisonment, civil theft and conspiracy and infliction of emotional distress. Besides the return of the pendant, Robinson seeks $25,000 for each act of imprisonment, conspiracy and infliction of emotional pain as well as undetermined compensatory damages.
Powers and Carter have said in a court filing that Robinson did visit the home and give Powers the pendant, but they denied the other accusations and asked that the lawsuit be dismissed.
They say that Robinson "came into possession of the pendant through the commission of a theft offense."
"Maverick Carter is the true owner of the Pendant ... and has superior right to ownership and possession," the filing said.
A call to LRMR's publicist after business hours Tuesday was not immediately returned.
Robinson claims she arrived at the home with family and a friend to find Powers and "eight or nine unknown persons waiting for her inside and outside of the house."
She says she "immediately felt threatened when she walked into the house" and that the unknown people and Powers threatened her and her companions and held them against their will, blocking the car they arrived in, until she handed over the pendant.
She claims that Powers slammed her hand on a table and said, "I am mad now!" and "Ya'll aren't leaving until I get that piece."
In July, a Wadsworth police report indicated that officers were investigating a receiving stolen property complaint involving the pendant. Sgt. James Elchlinger said then that he had determined the item was a one-of-a-kind piece and belonged to Carter.
Messages to the department and Elchlinger were not immediately returned Tuesday.
Robinson, an amateur boxer, had put the pendant up for sale on eBay after it was appraised, and she appeared in media reports discussing her surprise at its value. Her visit to the Carter-Powers home came shortly thereafter.