Current and former coaches testify in Jim Donnan fraud trial
Tommy Tuberville, Mark Gottfried, Dennis Franchione and Billy Gillispie were among the coaches who invested in Jim Donnan's company, GLC Limited Inc..
Cincinnati football coach Tommy Tuberville and NC State basketball coach Mark Gottfried were among the notable current and former college coaches to testify on Monday in Jim Donnan's fraud trial.
Donnan is facing 41 counts of federal charges including conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud as federal prosecutors attempt to connect the former Georgia football coach to an $80 million Ponzi scheme run through GLC Limited, Inc., a West Virginia-based company that dealt with closeout merchandise.
Other coaches testifying Monday included former Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie as well as former Alabama and Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione. According to the Macon Telegraph, many of the coaches invested more than one million dollars based on their previous relationship with Donnan.
Tuberville testified that Donnan didn’t pressure him into anything. Tuberville and his wife ended up investing $1.9 million, although how much he got back or lost wasn’t made clear during questioning.
“It wasn’t a forceable sell, like, ‘you’ve gotta put money in this,’ ” said Tuberville, who has known Donnan for about 20-25 years. “(Donnan said), ‘Don’t take my word for it, call Dennis Franchione and feel him out because he’s been in it for awhile.’ And that’s what I did.”
Franchione said he remains friends with Donnan despite losing more than $1.174 million. They first met when they were assistants at Kansas State in 1978, and they’ve remained friends ever since.
“I have known Jim a long time, believed in him and trusted Jim,” Franchione said.
Franchione testified that Barry Switzer (the legendary former football head coach) and Tuberville called him to seek information on the deal. Switzer ended up investing, and his son-in-law testified Monday.
NC State basketball coach Mark Gottfried, who was working for ESPN as an analyst at the time of his investment, added that GLC seemed like a sound investment in part because of the other coaches who had already gotten on board.
"That it was a good investment opportunity and that there were a number of other coaches involved, that it was pretty much no risk, and it was a great opportunity to make some money," Gottfried testified.
Donnan's attorney has argued that his client was the "first victim" of ex-partner Gregory Crabtree, the founder of GLC, who has pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy and faces five years in prison.
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