|University||Auckland University of Technology (AUT)|
|Subject||LAWS509: Legal Reasoning And Writing|
Elijah grew up north of Auckland. He was raised by his dad, a solo parent, and had a pretty tough upbringing. While playing schoolboy rugby he was identified as a promising rugby league player and at the age of 16 was offered and accepted a development contract with an NRL club. After leaving school, he played for, and excelled in, the club’s under-20 side.
When Elijah was 19, he met Miles. At the time Miles, aged 58, was a mental skills coach and CEO of a program aimed at mentoring promising young New Zealand sports stars.
Up until he met Miles, Elijah had relied very heavily on his dad for advice about his playing career. It wasn’t long after meeting Miles that Elijah’s father died of cancer. Miles was Elijah’s mainstay through this sad period, always encouraging Elijah to prioritize his career prospects.
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Elijah and Miles grew very close and Miles became, in Elijah’s words, “a member of my family”. He and Elijah talked in depth about all aspects of Elijah’s life. Miles subsequently gained accreditation as an NRL agent and signed Elijah up to an exclusive Athlete and Manager Contract (an AAMC) on standard terms.
Elijah didn’t get any independent advice, even though Miles suggested he should, because he totally trusted Miles. He’d often heard Miles say to others, “I am protective of Elijah because his background, limited schooling, and age leave him very vulnerable.” Elijah also gave Miles signing authority on his bank accounts as he didn’t want Miles out of pocket but also because he had had no experience with financial matters and he felt better knowing Miles had the money under control. It wasn’t unusual for Elijah to make generous gifts of cash to Miles. However, unknown to Elijah, Miles began to siphon funds for his own use.
Three years later, Miles negotiated a new and very lucrative contract with a major Australian team and at the same time as presenting this to Elijah, he got him to sign a second AAMC which had the effect of taking 15% of Elijah’s earnings and charging Elijah for expenses on top of the fee. (Under most standard AAMC contracts an agent takes a flat 7%.) Miles told Elijah there was no need to get any outside advice as “it is just an update of the first one.” Buoyed by the lucrative playing contract, Elijah was happy to sign the new AAMC without even looking at it. Elijah never thought Miles was earning any more than the 7% other agents he knew of earned.
A year into his playing contract and the second AAMC, things came to a head. Miles had over this time been telling Elijah that Elijah’s wife had a spending problem. This, of course, was to cover his siphoning of monies for himself over and above any genuinely incurred expenses. The subterfuge had put a wedge between Elijah and his wife and had the truth not come out, they would have split.
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