|Monday, January 10
Duva feud reaches the courts
NEWARK, N.J. -- Two members of the Duva family are suing the widow of their brother, Daniel, who was president and chairman of Main Events, the boxing promotion company, saying they were pushed out of the family business.
Dino Duva and his sister, Donna Duva Brooks, filed the suit late last month in state Superior Court for Passaic County.
Among the defendants are Main Events chief executive officer Kathy Duva, who is the widow of Daniel Duva, a brother of Dino and Donna, and Patrick C. English, longtime lawyer for Main Events and a trustee of the Totowa-based company.
They called the lawsuit "baseless," and said Dino Duva and Brooks were dismissed "with cause."
Daniel Duva was Main Events' president until he became seriously ill in late 1994. He then became chairman, and greater responsibility was given to Dino Duva, who became president, and Brooks, who became vice president.
Daniel Duva died Jan. 30, 1996, and his will established a "spousal trust" to administer his business interests. Although she was chairwoman of Main Events, Kathy Duva did not take a full-time role until early or mid-1997, and then "personality conflicts" with Dino Duva and Brooks arose, the suit said.
Last spring, Kathy Duva and English began efforts to remove Dino Duva and Brooks, and "ultimately wrongfully fired them and disregarded their ownership rights," according to the suit.
In a statement issued Monday, the brother and sister said:
"We could not stand by and allow outsiders to steal the boxing promotion organization that our family patriarch Lou initiated over 25 years ago and was built by the entire Duva family who have devoted their entire lives to developing Main Events into the multimillion dollar company it is today."
The defendants said in a statement that Daniel and Kathy Duva founded Main Events in 1978, and that Daniel was always the sole owner.
They said that after Daniel died, Dino Duva took actions, apparently supported by Brooks, that were "inconsistent with the principles upon which Main Events was formed" and that injured the trust's beneficiaries, Kathy Duva and her children.
The statement does not specify those actions.
Dino Duva was placed on leave after giving a $25,000 bribe to International Boxing Federation president Robert W. Lee Sr. to improve the ranking of a Main Events fighter, and later cooperated with federal authorities investigating Lee, according to a person familiar with the Lee case who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A racketeering indictment brought against Lee in November accused him and others of taking $338,000 in bribes. Lee pleaded innocent and awaits trial.
The indictment does not name or charge any promoters or boxers, but Kathy Duva has acknowledged that one of the charges involves IBF junior middleweight champion Fernando Vargas, who is promoted by Main Events.
The indictment said that in May 1998, Lee solicited $25,000 from a promoter to move Vargas, then the No. 5 contender, to No. 1. Lee and others made the change the next month, and in December 1998, Lee accepted $25,000 from that promoter, the indictment said.