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SI FOR KIDS
More car trouble
String of lane violations continues at Kentucky
Posted: Thursday October 08, 1998 06:38 PM
LEXINGTON, Kentucky (AP) -- A lawsuit over a 1996 Lexington fender-bender is the source of more automotive headaches for the Kentucky basketball team.
The suit, brought by Atlantic Mutual Insurance Co. and advertising executive Mary Ellen Slone, seeks $2,568 in damages stemming from an October 16, 1996, incident in which Kentucky center Jamaal Magloire rear-ended a truck owned by Slone's company.
Magloire was driving a car owned by the mother of Wildcat walk-on Steve Masiello. Slone, a UK graduate and athletics booster, said Thursday that she proceeded with the suit because Masiello's father, Stephen Masiello of White Plains, New York, has refused to reimburse her.
Slone, who owns Meridian Communications and MER Advertising Inc., said the elder Masiello told her by phone that his son's car was insured but that he was not going to tell her the insurer because he did not want the premiums to rise.
Slone said the conversation ended with Masiello telling her that "he was there and I was here and if I wanted to come after him, I could."
In a letter faxed Thursday to The Associated Press and the Lexington Herald-Leader, a lawyer for Stephen Masiello declined to discuss the case.
"Because of Ms. Slone's decision to take legal action ... this is not the time or place to discuss her statements to the media or the facts surrounding the unfortunate car accident which set this off nearly two years ago," Lexington-based lawyer D. Chad McCoy wrote.
The letter went on to say, "Mr. Masiello and his family ... are saddened that such a minor traffic accident is receiving so much attention, especially for Jamaal."
The suit, filed September 29 in Fayette Circuit Court, comes just months after the resolution of two other traffic cases involving Kentucky basketball players. In May, forward Myron Anthony pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a September 1997 hit-and-run accident. Anthony's admission followed an earlier guilty plea in the case by teammate Wayne Turner.
Turner's conviction was cleared, but no explanation has been given for why Turner took the blame if he was not at fault.
Also in May, guard Ryan Hogan pleaded guilty to a driving-under-the-influence charge.
Magloire also has been the subject of recent controversy. In June, he was a passenger in a Jeep in which two fellow occupants were arrested on drug possession charges in Louisville. Police searched Magloire, found no drugs and let him go, but Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said afterward that the 20-year-old from Toronto would be suspended for part of this season for violating team rules.
Smith has not commented on Slone's lawsuit. Slone, a 1967 Kentucky graduate and longtime holder of football and basketball season tickets, said she wrote the Kentucky athletics department and was told by associate athletics director Larry Ivy that NCAA rules barred the school from getting involved in the dispute.
Slone said she sued reluctantly, just before the expiration of the two-year limitation on legal action, because of the elder Masiello's attitude.
"I adamantly would like to say I have no quarrel with the UK athletic department," she said. "My quarrel is with Mr. Masiello."
A police report on the incident indicated Magloire was driving Steve Masiello's car when he rear-ended a vehicle owned by MER just around the corner from Rupp Arena in downtown Lexington.
Slone said the vehicle was a new pickup truck she was holding for her daughter and son-in-law, who had just gotten married and were on their honeymoon. Slone had placed the truck on the MER policy in the interim and it was being driven by her son-in-law's brother.
Masiello's mother, Kathryn Masiello, is named in the suit because the car was registered in her name.
Slone said she would have left the suit to her insurer if not for the fact that she paid a $500 deductible for the truck's repairs.As for her season seats at Rupp Arena, Slone joked, "I hope I still have them."
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