With the baseball season over, many players are looking forward to the off-season to get some downtime with friends and family before Spring Training begins. But one Red Sox player is warming up for another battle. Boston Red Sox hitter David Ortiz is very familiar with the baseball diamond, but perhaps less familiar in identifying the quality of real diamonds. Claiming he was sold imitation or low quality jewelry, Ortiz is taking a California jeweler to court for fraud.
In 2010, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was doing some shopping for expensive jewelry and accessories at Randy's Mens Wear, Ltd. Inc., in Anaheim, California. Ortiz, also known as Big Papi, was buying a gold and diamond encrusted Breitling watch, a diamond bracelet, black diamond earrings, and other jewelry, for which he paid $127,000. However, when Ortiz later had the jewelry appraised, he was told that the items were not what they appeared. The jewelry consisted of allegedly "imitation or low-quality metal and gemstones."
Ortiz contacted Hamida, demanding a refund, but Hamida failed to return the money. According to a lawsuit filed in Middlesex Superior Court, Ortiz is suing the jeweler for fraud, breach of contract, and other civil violations. The lawsuit alleges Hamida represented himself as a luxury jewelry merchant catering to professional athletes like Ortiz. Hamida allegedly travelled to Major League Baseball cities across the country, in attempting to sell his jewelry and accessories.
Specifically in this case, Hamida, who also goes by the last name "Hamideh," contacted Ortiz at the Red Sox' team hotel in Seattle, in September 2010. The two agreed to meet up later that year in October, in Massachusetts, where Hamida showed Ortiz his "allegedly custom-designed jewelry of the highest quality gold, diamonds, and other precious gemstones." They sealed the deal with a check for $80,000 and another $47,000 worth of Ortiz' own jewelry.
After confronted with the lower-than-stated value of the custom jewelry, Hamida allegedly acknowledged the value, and promised a full refund. Hamida kept putting off repayment, citing financial problems. The excuses and delays kept coming. After Ortiz apparently learned from other players that Hamida had a history of these tactics, the lawsuit was filed.
According to Jonathan M. Davidoff, lawyer for Ortiz, the lawsuit was a last resort. "David doesn't buy jewelry, or buy anything, from just anybody. And he trusted Hamida," said Davidoff. He continued, "David didn't want to sue. But also, David doesn't want to be taken advantage of. And professional athletes are targets, unfortunately."
The Boston Globe reports that phone calls to Hamida were not returned. No statements from Hamida or a lawyer representing Hamida have come forward. Randy's Mens Wear in Anaheim is a company owned by Hamida's father. Similar phone calls to Hamida's father also went unreturned and no working number exists for the company. Hamida used the company to collect check and credit card payments made to him. However, the California Secretary of State's website lists Randy's Mens Wear as being franchise tax board suspended for failure to meet tax requirements.