Tommy Tuberville Can't 'Dine and Dash' on Investment Lawsuit

So Tommy Tuberville, originally of Camden, reportedly left some Texas Tech football recruits sitting in a restaurant while he ducked out to … accept the head coaching job at the University of Cincinnati.

The handsome salary he’ll be paid by the Bearcats could come in handy if he’s found personally liable for nearly $1.8 million that eight plaintiffs are trying to get back from Tuberville, his former business partner and their half-baked investment companies, which have been described as a Ponzi scheme.

The business partner, John David Stroud, may not be too much help. He and the companies didn’t even mount a defense against the civil litigation filed in Alabama federal court, in which Debra Clark of Lake Village is a plaintiff. Stroud and the companies — with names like TS Capital Partners and TS Capital Management, for Tuberville and Stroud — have lost their part of the case by default, although no judgment has been entered pending a trial against Tuberville, which is scheduled for Aug. 5, 2013.

The plaintiffs, represented by the Capell & Howard firm of Montgomery, are arguing that Stroud and Tuberville are jointly and severally liable for the money invested by the eight plaintiffs — in part because they failed to actually incorporate some of their business entities as limited liability companies, despite using LLC in the names.

That joint-and-several thing — in which each member of a group is individually responsible for all liabilities of the group — is the same legal doctrine that sent another college football coach, John L. Smith, to bankruptcy court over debts associated with real estate wheeling and dealing in Louisville, Ky.

Tuberville’s lawyer has described the coach as another of Stroud’s victims.

Coincidentally, or not, Tuberville has also been identified in press reports as a victim of a Ponzi scheme operated by yet another jock: college football Hall of Fame coach and quarterback James Donnan.

In August, the Securities & Exchange Commission accused Donnan and a West Virginia business partner of bilking investors of some $80 million. Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer has also been identified as a Donnan victim by ESPN and others.

Meanwhile, Tuberville’s former partner, Stroud, and the TS entities are also facing a federal civil complaint by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Stroud has been charged with criminal fraud after an investigation by the Alabama Securities Commission, which has put the loss to investors at more than $5 million. Legal proceedings in the federal civil case have been put on hold pending the criminal trial, which is expected to begin in early 2013.

It’s starting to look like highly paid coaches have supplanted physicians as easy marks for shady investments — the phenomenon known to your Whispers staff as Triple D: dumb doctor deals.