A class action lawsuit has been filed in United States Federal Court for the Southern District of Miami against the CEO of the now-bankrupt cryto-currency exchange FTX. The lawsuit names several other stakeholders that include athletes and celebrities that have been paid spokespersons for the company.
FTX filed for Chapter 11 last week, and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was named as the primary defendant. And considering his actions and apparent level of remorse about what happened, him being the first name of course makes sense. But some of those spokespeople coming behind him might surprise you.
The suit also names the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat, who both had marketing deals with the company. The Heat also played in FTX Arena in Miami until the name was taken off the building last week, but the facility itself is owned by Miami-Dade County.
But how much liability do these folks actually have? If you’re a spokesperson for a company such as Nike, and it turns out the company is funding something illegal, is LeBron James legally culpable? Probably not. So while the sum of my legal experience consists of taking some practice LSATs while wandering through my 20s, it seems attaching these names is to add some PR and attention to the suit as much as searching for actual malicious actors.
Celebrities Larry David from Curb Your Enthusiasm and Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary were also cited, as was Brady’s ex-wife Gisele Bündchen.
We’ll see what becomes of it, but the people that performed the work they were contracted to do, while having no knowledge of malfeasance, are most likely not on the hook here.