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It's amazing the kind of sponsorship opportunities you can get when you don't actually pay anyone any money.
That's the moral of the David Hernandez ponzi scheme mess, which collapsed startup web radio station ChicagoSportsWebio.com earlier this year -- plunging the local sports personalities who jumped to the new project into sudden unemployment -- and which has apparently left plenty of local investors wondering where the money they gave to Hernandez actually went. Among those investors? The Chicago Bears.
According to the Sun-Times, the Bears have filed a breach-of-contract suit against Hernandez related to two 30-second television commercials. The Bears charged Hernandez $50,000 for the two spots, which Hernandez never paid, according to the complaint. Hernandez also got the ChicagoSportsWebio logo on the homepage of ChicagoBears.com, and in the background of various videos and other ads, during the NFL draft in April. The Bears say Hernandez never paid for those tie-ins, either. See? Isn't sponsorship great when you don't have to pay the company for the ads you buy?
There is a potential hole in the Bears' case: Hernandez never signed the agreement. But the Bears plan on turning over an email from Hernandez that proves he was planning on finalizing a deal the Bears eventually lived up to, anyway.
This is of course just another chapter in the Hernandez story, which includes the Webio fallout and a potential $12 million bilked from Next Step Medical Staffing in order to pay for the defunct web radio station. Hernandez, who faces a variety of class action lawsuits from former investors in Next Step, was found in downstate Illinois holed up in a Super 8 earlier this year. The whole story screams class.
Of course, a one-time $50,000 deal is small potatoes to the Bears, but it's the principle, right? It'll be interesting to see if a judge agrees.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.