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Taylor and Hilliard suing Black

Jaguars running back Fred Taylor and Giants wide receiver Ike Hilliard are suing sports agent William "Tank" Black, claiming he defrauded them out of millions of dollars.

The lawsuit mirrors somewhat federal criminal charges that Black and his associates defrauded Taylor and Hilliard, said Miami attorney Lance Harke, who filed the lawsuit Wednesday in federal court.

Named as defendants are Black, James A. Franklin Jr., Alfred Twitty, Lisa Adams, Professional Management Inc., Professional Managing Consulting Inc., P.E. Communications Inc., Jimmy B. Roof, Robert C. Ellenburg, Roof and Ellenburg LLC, Richard Homa, and Cash 4 Titles Inc.

Franklin is an attorney for PMI. Adams is a PMI employee and Twitty served as a runner for Black.

Calls to Black and other defendants were not immediately returned.

"They were caught in a complicated scheme," Harke said.

The suit claims Black and his associates invested millions of the players' money in phony schemes, diverted money to offshore bank accounts, and misrepresented investments.

The lawsuit claims Black gained control of the players' lucrative contracts through his Columbia, S.C., based agency.

Harke said attorneys still have not determined how much money Taylor and Hilliard lost, "but it is in the millions."

The lawsuit claims Black and Franklin convinced Hilliard to liquidate the $1.1-million stock portfolio he purchased for his retirement and invest in Cash 4 Titles Inc., a title loan company based in Atlanta. Black's agency was retaining 40 percent of the monthly return on clients' investments, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also said Taylor, on Black's advice, invested $3.4-million, including $2.4-million of the first payment of his signing bonus.

Black's trial on the criminal charges is scheduled to begin June 5.

Black also faces a civil action filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, charging him with defrauding his clients of at least $5-million in investment scams.

Black became the center of an investigation by University of Florida police last spring for possible illegal inducements to former university players.

COWBOYS: Receiver Joey Galloway has apologized to owner Jerry Jones for a weekend party in West Virginia that got out of control.

A party Galloway was hosting at a Wheeling, W.Va., hotel erupted into a brawl early Sunday. The party was to celebrate Galloway's $42-million dollar contract. No arrests were made and Galloway was not involved in the fight.

DOLPHINS: Wide receiver Oronde Gadsden's agent, Michael Todd, said his client will sign a revised injury waiver today, allowing Gadsden to participate in off-season workouts. Todd said coach Mike Wannstedt told him the team would begin negotiations on a long-term deal next week.

An agreement was reached with guard Mark Dixon on a three-year deal that could be worth more than $3-million. The deal won't be finalized until after June 1 because of salary-cap considerations. Dixon, 29, said he was willing to trade a year of restricted free agency and a year of unrestricted free agency for some security.

FALCONS: Third-round choice Mark Simoneau, a linebacker, and seventh-rounder Darrick Vaughn, a cornerback, agreed to three-year deals. That leaves only one of the team's six draftees unsigned.

JETS: Defensive tackle Richard Seals, the team's seventh-round pick, agreed to terms.

RAMS: Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner was released from the hospital after an appendectomy. Contrary to early reports, Warner was not rushed into emergency surgery and was able to drive himself to the hospital.

JAGUARS: Seventh-round picks Rob Meier and Shyrone Stith were signed. Terms were not disclosed.

NINERS: General manager Bill Walsh and Jim Steiner, the agent for receiver Jerry Rice, said they had made significant progress in working out a new deal after meeting for 2{ hours.

While the sides were closing in on a more salary-cap friendly contract for Rice, 37, the future of quarterback Steve Young, 38, is still up in the air.

Walsh said Young continues mulling over whether to resume his career and probably won't make a final decision for at least several more weeks.

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