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Drew Rosenhaus' ties to arbitrator an issue in DeSean Jackson case

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

DeSean Jackson alleges Drew Rosenhaus 'bribed' him.
Drew Rosenhaus' ties to an arbitrator are under the microscope. (USATSI)

In April, arbitrator Roger Kaplan ruled that Redskins wideout DeSean Jackson owed former agent Drew Rosenhaus $516,415 in unpaid agent fees and loans. Earlier in August, a U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald, in a document obtained by CBSSports.com, ruled Jackson could have grounds to overturn that award based on Rosenhaus' failure to disclose a prior relationship with Kaplan.

Rosenhaus petitioned the court to confirm the award while Jackson cross-petitioned the court to vacate the award; the result was a hearing in Fitzgerald's chambers followed by tentative order issued from the court.

Jackson's cross-petition asks for a reversal of the award because Kaplan either "displayed evident partiality or corruption, or exceeded his powers."

Fitzgerald ruled Kaplan did not exceed his power and was sufficiently impartial. However he expressed concern over Rosenhaus' and Kaplan's "duty to disclose." Jackson alleges during the arbitration process with Jackson and Rosenhaus, Kaplan was "simultaneously served as an arbitrator in a dispute between Rosenhaus and one of Rosenhaus' former employees."

Jackson claims Kaplan didn't disclose this working relationship initially. Rosenhaus claims Kaplan wrote a letter to David Cornwell, a member of Jackson's legal team. Once Jackson learned of this letter, per the document, he "sought to disqualify Kaplan, but Kaplan refused, stating there was no conflict of interest or appearance of impropriety."

"Rosenhaus may have provided business to Kaplan in an unrelated matter is potentially material to Kaplan's partiality and arguably should have been disclosed to the parties to avoid an impression of bias," the court writes.

In short: it's not clear whether proper disclosure was given by Rosenhaus and/or Kaplan to Jackson.

As such, a evidentiary hearing was ordered to determine whether or not any disclosure was made and, if so, whether the proper parties were given said disclosure.

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