GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A major tennis star says Grand Rapids' Miracle Match Foundation still owes him $100,000.
Target 8 investigators have been tracking the foundation's finances for years. Last week, Target 8 reported a US bankruptcy trustee has accused tennis pro Bill Przybysz -- the man behind Miracle Match -- of running a Ponzi scheme with the foundation and businesses he created to put on celebrity tennis matches around the country.
Now, tennis star Andy Roddick has filed a lawsuit in Dallas, Texas, according to the Courthouse News Service, naming Miracle Match and a couple of Przybysz companies.
It alleges two checks totaling $100,000 bounced last fall. The checks were supposed to be payment for Roddick's appearance at a Miracle Match event in Connecticut in September 2012.
Roddick joins others who have sued over unpaid loans and worthless investments involving Przybysz and the supposedly charitable tennis events.
Those lawsuits have returned little money because Przybysz filed for personal bankruptcy protection in 2010, saying he owes $2.8 million.
A Grand Rapids family says it is still owed nearly $50,000, but doesn't expect to get any of it back.
"Being taken advantage of was a huge part for them," said Kim Helm, who said her in-laws, James and Sheila Helm, were retired and in their 70s when they loaned Bill Przybysz $50,000 to put on a charity tennis match in Grand Rapids in 2004. "They just didn't think that that would happen with this kind of situation."
Helm said Przybysz's behavior gave her in-laws a clue they weren't going to get their money back.
"There were a lot of red flags along the way, with that he kept putting it off, I think, because he didn't have enough money. And he actually came back to them, asking for more money at some point in that process of delays, and they refused to give him more, thankfully," said Helm.
She said the event wasn't as well attended as they expected, and promised face time with the stars never materialized. Neither did the payback.
"Once the event was done, he was not to be heard from unless we were contacting him, trying to find out when this money was going to be returned. It was no contact from him whatsoever," she said.
According to a financial statement Miracle Match filed for that year, the foundation raised only $3,600 to help children with leukemia. It was $377,000 in the hole.
"When my mother-in-law was still alive, it just really upset her," said Helm. "She's so very trusting and she believed him when he came and talked about his leukemia and the reason for these matches, and she was a very charitable person."
The Helms sued and won, but got only about $2,000 before Przybysz filed for bankruptcy protection.
Miracle Match lost its charity status for failing to file financial reports, but has since gotten in back and its website suggests it may put on more tennis events this year.
"It's been nine years, so we've kind of obviously written it off. But then to hear that he is trying to get this going again is what has me here, not wanting to have that happen again to someone else," said Helm.
Meanwhile in the bankruptcy case, the trustee is settling cases he filed against people who got some money from Przybysz. The settlements come after the court limited how far the trustee could go in his effort to retrieve money to put in a pot for everyone affected to share.
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