'Breaking Cardinal Rules' lawsuit heads to federal court

'Breaking Cardinal Rules' lawsuit heads to federal court
Published: Oct. 24, 2016 at 4:46 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 26, 2016 at 7:37 PM EDT
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Kyle Hornback was crowned Miss Kentucky USA in early 2016. (Source: Facebook)
Kyle Hornback was crowned Miss Kentucky USA in early 2016. (Source: Facebook)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Almost a year has passed since now-Miss Kentucky USA Kyle Hornback took the Breaking Cardinal Rules scandal to court, alleging that self-proclaimed 'Escort Queen' Katina Powell's claims of providing strippers and sexual favors to UofL men's basketball recruits devalued any graduate's academic degree.

And, the NCAA's own fact-finding released last week has done little to resolve it.

"Can you keep it to five pages?" Jefferson Circuit Judge Mitch Perry asked attorneys Monday morning. "I'm going blind reading this case."

Perry delayed hearing arguments on two motions until November 2.

"What we've asked the court to do and is pending, is to have the various claims of the plaintiffs thrown out," said Ron Elberger, the attorney representing Powell, co-author Richard E. 'Dick' Cady, IBJ Book Publishing LLC and its owner Michael Maurer.

Perry has already dismissed portions of the suit. But five women, whom Powell names in the book, allege Powell, Cady, Maurer and the publishing company have defamed them by using their photos or likenesses to imply or state that they were strippers or prostitutes.

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Elberger has filed a federal suit against the plaintiffs' attorneys, Nader George Shunnarah and John Andrew White. He's seeking to recover $150,000 in legal fees for what he calls their "abuse of the legal process" and "wrongful use of civil proceedings" to extort money for claims that UofL's own investigators and those from the NCAA have proven they cannot win.

"What happened, in the form of that book being written, was absolute truthful, honest and correct," Powell's attorney Larry Wilder said outside court on Monday.

In its Notice of Allegations issued last week, the NCAA confirmed the gist of Powell's claims that Andre McGee, former director of UofL's men's basketball operations, paid specific women to perform specific acts for specific recruits. The public version of those findings redacts all names but McGee's.

"In other words, they've conducted a preliminary investigation and confirmed certain facts,' Elberger said.

Elberger's federal lawsuit followed more than a week's worth of email and U.S. Mail exchanges with Shunnarah and White, alleging discovery deficiencies regarding their alleged refusal to turn over their clients' income tax returns and a lack of specifics as to which snippets of Powell's book they allege are defamatory.

>> Read the entire complaint

"Your word that you'll discuss the discovery issues is worthless in my opinion," Elberger wrote in an email dated October 18.

On Monday, Shunnarh and White filed their motion in Jefferson Circuit Court to compel defendants' counsel to follow Kentucky's Attorney Code of Conduct.

Shunnarah cited a lack of notice in "demand(ing) that the parties conduct and teleconference to discuss the deficiencies TWO DAYS LATER", agreeing to postpone the discussion until October 26 (Wednesday) grudgingly... but only after attacking Plaintiff's counsel."

Shunnarah and White have until November 10 to respond to Elberger's federal claim.

"We have no out-of-court comment on pending matters," Shunnarah told WAVE 3 News via telephone on Monday. "Our filing will speak for itself." 

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