Tuesday, February 5, 2002
Frazier sues casino over use of his image
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Joe Frazier is suing the Oneida Indian
Nation for $16 million, claiming the tribe's Turning Stone Casino
used his image without permission to promote his daughter's fight
against Muhammad Ali's daughter last year.
The lawsuit claims Frazier has never allowed anyone to use his
likeness to promote commercial gambling and that the casino and
tribe "knowingly, intentionally, maliciously and unjustly profited
from their improper commercial advertising."
"He was outraged by it," Frazier's attorney, H. Todd Bullard,
Frazier saw his photo on gambling tables when he attended the
June 8 fight between Jacqui Frazier-Lyde and Laila Ali, the lawsuit
said. Ali won the fight.
Oneida representative Ray Halbritter, casino marketing manager
Dwayne Stitzer, and Edward Brophy, boxing promoter and executive
director of the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, are
also defendants in the suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court
"This came as a surprise to the Oneida Nation, especially after
all that the Turning Stone Casino Resort has done for the Frazier
family," Oneida spokesman Mark Emery said.
"The nation is confident that the suit is without merit and
continues to analyze it," Emery said.
Brophy was not immediately available for comment. Stitzer said
he did not remember Frazier's photo being used on gaming tables or
The lawsuit included photos showing gaming tables with Joe
Frazier's 1971 boxing picture superimposed behind a picture of his
Frazier's picture was used on programs, leaflets, souvenirs,
mailings and party favors that the casino's promoters showed to
"high rollers and other gambling customers to induce them" to
attend the match, the suit said.
Frazier was heavyweight champion in the late 1960s and early
1970s and fought Muhammad Ali in three memorable heavyweight
battles -- winning once and losing twice.
The lawsuit seeks $7 million in compensatory damages and $9
million in punitive damages.