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Sunday, October 12, 2003
Updated: October 15, 3:31 AM ET
Suit claims mismanagement and fraud

ESPN.com

A lawsuit was filed Friday asking that Al Davis be removed as the general partner of the Oakland Raiders. A copy of the suit was obtained by ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of Alameda County by the estate of the E.J. McGah Family, a long-time investor and the team's next biggest shareholder behind Davis. The suit alleges Davis is guilty of mismanagement, wrongful appropriation of Raiders funds, fraud and breach of contract.

When reached for comment Sunday, the Raiders called the lawsuit "frivolous" and added that the suit "comes from a disgruntled investor."

The McGah family claims it has been denied access to the Raiders' finances and records. The McGah Family partnership owns 31 percent of the Raiders, while Davis is believed to own 37 percent.

The family also accuses Davis of plundering the franchise for perks that include a private jet and interior decorating at his Palm Springs vacation home.

They have already extended a federal deadline to pay estate taxes on the 31 percent share of the Raiders they inherited from McGah's son because they don't know how much it's worth, according to family lawyer Neil Papiano.

Indeed, it was E.W. McGah -- whose son E.J. McGah died in 2002 -- who made Davis a general partner in 1966.

Since then, Davis has led his team to three Super Bowl titles as either the Oakland or Los Angeles Raiders.

He also has led the league in lawsuits, spending tens of millions on lawyer fees to sue the NFL, the city of Oakland, other teams and even the Internal Revenue Service over everything from the opportunity to move the franchise to the design of opposition uniforms.

In August, the Raiders scored a partial victory when a jury awarded the team $34.2 million from the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, which lured the team back from Los Angeles eight years ago on false promises of a packed stadium. Lawyers for the coliseum on Friday asked a Sacramento County judge to reconsider that judgment, a request the Raiders dismissed as a rehashing of failed arguments.

Davis grabs headlines as the team's iconic executive, but he doesn't own the team outright.

He just acts like it, according to the McGah lawsuit.

Davis used team funds to provide cars and accommodations to his brother, to buy "expensive suites and floor season tickets" to NBA games and to send a staff member to Palm Springs to redecorate his vacation home, according to papers filed Friday.

His "management practices have resulted in the Raiders franchise losing substantial sums of money," the lawsuit claims, citing the limited documents the team has turned over.

Phone messages for plaintiffs Barbara McGah and Sherratt Reicher, E.W. McGah's adult grandson and a co-trustee of the estate, were not returned Tuesday.

The suit names both Davis and A.D. Football Inc., the Davis-controlled corporation that runs the team, and says for the past 10 months they have refused to grant access to partnership records the plaintiffs are legally entitled to review.

The plaintiffs say they have a right to review the books regardless of reason -- but that the tax deadline adds time pressure.

"We're not going to sign something that says this is one of our best guesses" of the 31 percent stake in the team, Papiano said. "Try that on your return."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.