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Bucs' Mike Williams faces lawsuit over fire

Mike Williams is working to resolve the off-field problems that have caused headlines and could put his future with the Bucs in question under new coach Lovie Smith and new general manager Jason Licht.
Published Apr. 3, 2014

TAMPA — A kitchen fire in the home he rented last summer continues to cause problems for Bucs receiver Mike Williams, who faces a lawsuit from the insurance company that paid for repairs.

The lawsuit, filed last week in Tampa by United Property & Casualty Insurance Co., seeks $54,453, its cost to repair the damage, "plus interest, court costs and other costs."

Williams, 26, previously agreed to pay $43,000 in damages — not specifically limited to those from the fire — to the home­owner, Warren Gold of Lutz, in November.

The lawsuit alleges that on June 14, Williams "negligently caused a fire while using the stove-top range" at the home in The Sanctuary on Livingston, a gated community in Lutz. The fire brought emergency personnel to the home and caused "heat, smoke and fire damage," the suit alleges.

Williams has hired an attorney, Jennifer Flannery, from his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y. She said Monday that she had not seen the lawsuit and would not comment until she had. Williams might not have been home when the fire took place, though that might not change his liability.

The lawsuit accuses Williams of "negligently and carelessly leaving a pan on the stove" and "failing to monitor" it. Gold could not be reached for comment, and an attorney at Groelle and Salmon in Tampa, which filed the lawsuit, declined to comment Tuesday.

Williams is working to resolve his off-field problems.

He is in position to do so with unrelated misdemeanor charges of trespass and criminal mischief, accused of knocking a girlfriend's door off its hinges in December. Last week, he was approved to enter a pretrial intervention program.

The charges will be dropped if he completes the program, which likely would involve a short probationary period.

Greg Auman can be reached at auman@tampabay.com.

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