Lawsuit against Steve Masiello over Derby tickets dismissed - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Lawsuit against Steve Masiello over Derby tickets dismissed

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LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- Saying Steve Masiello has had a “cloud over his good name,” a judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday against the former assistant University of Louisville basketball coach over claims he improperly kept $50,000 he had promised to use to get Derby tickets for a broker.

In the dismissal order, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Charles Cunningham pointed out that the plaintiff in the case, Scott Davis, who operates DerbyDeales.com, is “under investigation by local police … and the FBI!” and cannot have a lawsuit proceed if he refuses to be deposed or testify.

The suit has been pending since 2010, when Davis claimed he gave Masiello $70,000 to procure Kentucky Derby and Oaks tickets but the assistant UofL coach only gave him $10,000 in tickets and returned another $10,000 in cash, keeping the rest.

On Monday, Davis was supposed to be deposed but did not appear in court and his attorney, Garry Adams, told the judge he had been unable to contact Davis.

Adams withdrew from the case and Cunningham ruled that given Davis “did not even have the courtesy to call and decline to attend,” Masiello “deserves, after years of trying to clear his name, to have some closure.”

Adams said in an interview that he has had no contact with Davis in more than a month.

"He has not responded to any of my attempts at communications," he said.

Cunningham also said it has become “increasingly clear” Davis was not going to win the case and keeping it going would only harm his existing business “given the information he would have to disclose.”

Tim McCall, one of Masiello’s attorneys, put in the record that he has confirmed Davis is under investigation, Cunningham wrote in his order, though there are no specifics of that investigation.  Scalping tickets is illegal in Kentucky. DerbyDeals.com is based in Indiana, where scalping is legal.

In an interview, McCall acknowledged that he has determined Davis is under investigation but would not say for what or how he learned of this.

Adams said investigators have not talked with him about Davis recently. Davis could not be immediately reached for comment.

McCall said he spoke Tuesday with Masiello, who is now coaching at Manhattan College, to tell him the case had been dismissed.

“He’s fine,” McCall said, adding that Masiello expected the case to be dismissed. “This was not a big concern of his.”

Cunningham initially dismissed the case in 2010, finding that scalping tickets was a criminal act in Kentucky and "the courts of justice are not in the business of facilitating criminal acts."

But the Kentucky Court of Appeals reinstated the lawsuit in 2012, saying, in part, there was no reason to believe the tickets were sold above face value.

In his order Tuesday, Cunningham said he is even more confident now that the case "can not proceed because Kentucky law does not allow it."

McCall is not expecting that to happen again, pointing out that Davis does not even have an attorney right now.

A jury trial had been set for July 8.  

The suit claimed that Masiello told Davis he would talk to University of Louisville Coach Rick Pitino and other connections about getting the Derby and Oaks tickets.

Davis claimed that some of the transactions took place at the YUM Center, including one where Davis had to wait because Masiello was working with former UofL player Samardo Samuels, according to court records.

Davis also alleged he met Masiello at Molly Malone’s in St. Matthews where he was with former University of Kentucky player Scott Padgett to get tickets.

And Davis said Masiello told him one of his friends was a reporter with the Courier-Journal, who was going to Churchill to “clean out” the tickets.”

But Davis was only given some of what was promised and was left “holding the bag,” according to court records.

Masiello repeatedly denied the allegations, saying that as “a favor for a friend,” he served as a go-between between Davis and another person for acquiring tickets, according to court records. And Masiello claimed Davis paid for and received all of the tickets he sought.

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