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By Mike Johnson on 2010-08-03 16:00:49's owner and parent company, Michael Bochicchio and Highspots, Inc. have filed a lawsuit against TNA star Ric Flair in the Superior Court of North Carolina,.  The lawsuit was filed over the ongoing issues regarding money Flair allegedly owes Highspots and the original National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight championship belt, which Highspots claimed they were given as collateral for the loan. 

Highspots has maintained possession of the belt and have previously tried to sell the belt to make up the amount they have alleged Flair owes them, only to learn that another entity, Combraco, Inc., already held a lien on the property for money Flair owes them.

Highspots is suing, claiming they are owed $35,000 from money lent to Flair, as well as money spent on photos and other materials created in conjunction with Flair appearances. They are also claiming they are owed one more appearance contractually by Flair, plus interest on money owed.

Highspots' side is that they lent Flair $31,000 and $35,000 on different instances. Flair agreed to make appearances to make up the amounts. Flair made two signing appearances and also appeared with Roddy Piper in a shoot interview DVD for a total of three appearances. So, Highspots is claiming they are owed for one final appearance to make up the remainder of the $31,000, plus the entire $35,000 loan.

Flair's attorney responded to the lawsuit on 7/21, noting that Flair had accepted a wire money transfer from Highspots to the tune of $35,000, which is the amount in question for the second loan. There is no mention of the initial $31,000 beyond the mention of a "loan that had been previously addressed." The agreement, according to Flair's side was that Flair would then do a series of autograph appearances for Highspots to work off the debt.   

Flair's attorney claimed to the court that two such appearances were made, which each "generated $10,000 per appearance" while the remaining appearances "were canceled" by Highspots.  In the filing, Flair's attorney wrote that the cancellations were made "without prior warning" and that Highspots had "denied Flair the ability under the agreement to repay the balance of the loan."

In regard to the NWA championship belt, Flair's attorney claims that "at no time" did Flair pledge the belt to Highspots as collateral.  Flair's version of events is that the belt was brought to the autograph sessions and that Highspots took possession and "refused to return it."    In noting the lien to Combraco, Inc., Flair's attorney's claimed that at no time did Flair lead Highspots to believe they had "security interest" in the belt.  Flair is claiming Highspots has "wrongful, unlawful and unauthorized possession" of the belt.

The filing also mentioned that Flair did call the local police in Charlotte "asking for advice on how to retrieve it."  In asking around, there was a story making the rounds in the local wrestling scene several months back that several officers came to Highspots' office, trying to get the belt but left after being shown the paperwork regarding the issue. 

The filing also featured an interesting claim from Flair's side that had failed to pay Flair after an appearance at a "Mid-Atlantic Fan Fest" (obviously, last year's NWA Legends Fanfest in Charlotte) as he was scheduled to work for seven hours and be paid $7,500.  Flair's attorney claimed Flair instead worked thirteen hours and was "compensated only $19,000" - and had he been paid for the "full extent of his services", there would have been "sufficient funds" to repay any debt to

Interesting to note that NWA Legends Fan Fest promoter Greg Price came out publicly several months back regarding his dealing with Flair over the course of that event.  His statement, reprinted on Page Two, included a claim that Price cut a deal with Highspots and Flair where Flair received money up front and the remainder would go towards Highspots' debt.  Instead, Flair allegedly held Price up for much more money during the course of the event, which Price eventually paid Flair and not Highspots.  Obviously, Flair and Price's accounts greatly differ from the other, but if Price was the one paying Flair, not Highspots, one has to wonder how Flair can place the blame on Highspots to begin with and how it is even material to the money owed.

Flair's filing asked that Highspots be denied all of their claims, that the court rule that any debt to the company has been satisfied and that the NWA World championship belt be returned to his possession and that Highspots be forced to pay the court costs.

Ring of Honor currently has a lawsuit pending against Flair as well for breach of contract and money owed after Flair pulled out of scheduled appearances as the company's "Ambassador" after being previously paid in advance.

As I noted earlier, Greg Price's original account of the Flair situation at last year's NWA Legends Fanfest is reprinted on Page 2.

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