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Attorney Says Michael Oher Recently Attempted a $15 Million ‘Shakedown’ Against the ‘Blind Side’ Family

Former NFL star Michael Oher’s claims that he was tricked by a Tennessee family into signing away what turned out to be vast profits from the story of his life have been rejected by a lawyer for Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. Oher’s story of growing up on the fringes of life and powering his way to success as an All-American offensive lineman in college and a member of the Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens in 2013 was made into a film called “The Blind Side” based on a book with the same name. Recently, Oher and the Tuohys have been involved in a battle over what Oher claims was a shady deal from the family that took him in. The former NFL player’s allegations have been denied by the family. He claims that he was told he was adopted, when in fact he entered into a conservatorship that diverted profits he should have realized into the hands of the Tuohys. “The lie of Michael’s adoption is one upon which Co-Conservators Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy have enriched themselves at the expense of their Ward, the undersigned Michael Oher,” the petition to terminate the conservatorship in Shelby County Court in Tennessee said, according to NBC. On Tuesday, attorney Martin Singer issued a statement saying Oher tried to shake down the family, according to ESPN. Calling Oher’s allegations “outlandish,” the statement added that “the idea that the family ever sought to profit off Mr. Oher is not only offensive, it is transparently ridiculous.” “In reality, the Tuohys opened their home to Mr. Oher, offered him structure, support and, most of all, unconditional love,” the statement said. “They have consistently treated him like a son and one of their three children. His response was to threaten them, including saying that he would plant a negative story about them in the press unless they paid him $15 million.” [firefly_poll] Oher has claimed he received nothing out of the more than $300 million earned by the film, claiming the Tuohys were each paid $225,000, plus 2.5 percent of the film’s “defined net proceeds.” Singer’s statement said that agents for Michael Lewis, who wrote the book that was the foundation for the film, presented a deal in which the Tuohys “received a small advance from the production company and a tiny percentage of net profits.” “They insisted that any money received be divided equally. And they have made good on that pledge,” the statement said. “The evidence — documented in profit participation checks and studio accounting statements — is clear: Over the years, the Tuohys have given Mr. Oher an equal cut of every penny received from ‘The Blind Side.’” “Even recently, when Mr. Oher started to threaten them about what he would do unless they paid him an eight-figure windfall, and, as part of that shakedown effort refused to cash the small profit checks from the Tuohys, they still deposited Mr. Oher’s equal share into a trust account they set up for his son,” the statement said. Oher “has actually attempted to run this play several times before — but it seems that numerous other lawyers stopped representing him once they saw the evidence and learned the truth. Sadly, Mr. Oher has finally found a willing enabler and filed this ludicrous lawsuit as a cynical attempt to drum up attention in the middle of his latest book tour,” the statement continued. Oher wants the conservatorship ended and what he calls a fair share of the profits. Singer said the family is not against ending the conservatorship, but added, they “will not hesitate to defend their good names, stand up to this shakedown and defeat this offensive lawsuit.” Attorney Don Barrett, part of Oher’s legal team, was not impressed with the opposition’s statement. “We try cases in the courtroom based on the facts. We have confidence in our judicial system and in our client Michael Oher. We believe that justice will be served in the courtroom, and we hope to get there quickly,” he said. Singer said Oher’s claim makes little sense, according to TMZ. “The notion that a couple worth hundreds of millions of dollars would connive to withhold a few thousand dollars in profit participation payments from anyone — let alone from someone they loved as a son — defies belief,” Singer said. According to the New York Post, the Tuohys became rich off their more than 100 food franchises that included Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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