Hendricks, API reach settlement
Athletes Premier International was the original agency for Aroldis Chapman
API's president claimed that the Hendricks enticed Chapman away from API
Chapman signed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Reds in January
Hendricks Sports Management, agents for Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman, has reached an out-of-court settlement with Athletes Premier International, the pitcher's original representatives, a league source told SI.com on Tuesday.
Edwin Mejia, president of Athletes Premier International (API), filed suit in Massachusetts Superior Court last December against Hendricks Sports Management for "malicious interference" and "unjust enrichment," among other claims, in what API considered to be the luring of Chapman away from his original agency. Chapman, a Cuban left-hander with a reported 100-mph fastball, was considered one of the most valuable free agents on the market this past offseason. In January, brothers Alan and Randy Hendricks, founders of Hendricks Sports Management, negotiated a five-year, $30 million contract with the Reds on Chapman's behalf.
The terms of the settlement are unclear and the Massachusetts court handling the case had not received notice of the deal as of Tuesday afternoon. Mejia declined comment to SI.com on Tuesday and Randy Hendricks responded to an email questioning the source of the information but provided no answers to specific inquiries. The suit claimed that API spent "hundreds of thousands of dollars in their efforts on behalf of Chapman," and that Hendricks Sports Management provided Chapman "with numerous improper enticements to induce and terminate his contract and relationship with Athletes Premier and Mejia."
The settlement comes one week after the Coral Springs Police Department opened an investigation of former Hendricks Sports Management employee Rodney Fernandez, to determine if he had any role in the disappearance of more than $300,000 from the bank account of Angels first baseman and former Hendricks client Kendry Morales. Fernandez, a Cuban defector and ex-minor league player, was instrumental in helping the Hendricks brothers recruit Morales and Chapman to the firm. After learning of the missing money, Morales parted with the Hendricks and hired Scott Boras as his agent.
Fernandez had access to Morales' account to pay for "small bills," according to a police incident report, but publicly denies taking unauthorized funds from Morales. Fernandez told ESPN.com that the money he withdrew from Morales' account was for Hendricks-related expenses and was done with the approval of the Hendricks brothers.
Coral Spring Police Department spokesman Joe McHugh told SI.com on Tuesday that numerous calls to Morales and his lawyer by detectives investigating the case have not been returned. McHugh said that his department will continue its attempts to reach Morales but is unlikely to pursue a case with an uncooperative victim.
The Major League Baseball Players Association, which has confirmed that it is investigating Morales' missing funds, may provide a vehicle for Mejia to pursue action against Chapman.
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