Ex-Owner of Florida Arena Football Team Redirected Franchise Website to Sex Offender Registry, Lawsuit Says
According to a lawsuit now grinding through the legal system in Chicago, Florida arena-football owner David Pearsall isn't a guy you want to mess with. A former owner with the Arena Football One league, Pearsall got into a squabble with the organization after his franchise was revoked. Then things got interesting.
Until May 2014, Pearsall owned the Orlando Predators, according to Courthouse News. The franchise had been part of the league for 23 years, but Pearsall took over the steering wheel only in 2013 after holding a minority interest in the team for the previous three seasons.
"I always have believed an organization's attitude trickles from the top. If I'm a jerk, I can't expect my staff to be anything but that too," the new owner told the Orlando Business Journal in a -- prophetic? -- interview in summer 2013.
The new owner ran into problems with the league, according to current legal filings. In May 2014, Pearsall was booted from the AF One for failing to "fulfill numerous team and League obligations," according to the lawsuit.
After the league's move, Pearsall didn't back down. The lawsuit alleges that he changed all the administrative codes for the Predators website. Then in mid-July, someone set up the team's online address to redirect visitors... to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Sex Offender and Predator's registry -- the ex-owner's handiwork, the lawsuit alleges.
Get it? Predators... predators.
According to Courthouse News, last week the website was still redirecting to the sex offender registry. When we tried to punch in the coordinates into the old browser, the page no longer loaded with anything.
In its lawsuit against Pearsall, AF One claims that when the owner was ejected from the league, all his rights and license to control the team were forfeited back to the league. The league also argues that it owns the "Predators" trademark and that Pearsall's gag is "disparaging" and "misleading and offensive."
Surely. But also, pretty funny.
Incidentally, the Predators were sold to a new owner last week -- David Siegel, a timeshare baron who made headlines when he said he'd fire everyone in his company if President Obama were reelected in 2012. The rank-and-file officer workers and players at the Predators are probably overjoyed.
Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Swenson.