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UFC fighters former business partner fights back

Lee Gamble files countersuit against Chael Sonnen, co-owner of Mean Street Pizza


Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Chael Sonnen’s former business partner is fighting back.by: SUBMITTED - Mean Street Pizza is located at 21700 Salamo Road in West Linn.

It was announced Monday that Lee Gamble has filed a countersuit against Sonnen in Clackamas County Circuit Court.

Sonnen, who co-owns Mean Street Pizza with Gamble, is suing his business partner for $42,600 with claims of embezzlement, an unpaid loan and overdue rent.

In a lawsuit filed Feb. 15 in Clackamas County Circuit Court, Sonnen alleges Gamble embezzled $20,000 from Mean Street Pizza, which opened last spring. According to his lawsuit, Sonnen learned of the missing money on Feb. 10.

That lawsuit also alleges Gamble borrowed $10,000 from Sonnen and never paid it back. Gamble was supposed to repay the money after selling a vehicle. The lawsuit also states that Gamble owes Sonnen $12,600 for the unpaid rental of a home Sonnen owns. Gamble allegedly has not paid his $1,800 monthly rent for seven months.

Sonnen is also seeking 9 percent interest on those funds as well as coverage of his attorney’s fees.

Sonnen is also seeking to oust Gamble from the limited liability corporation they run, West Linn Guys. Gamble was the manager-member who ran and operated the business.

In the countersuit, Gamble denies embezzling any money, states he was physically removed from the premises and contends the assets of the business were illegally seized.

In a press release, Gamble said, “(Sonnen) can only imagine the alleged embezzlement refers to the salary I was paid as the manager of the restaurant but I cannot imagine why Chael feels entitled to recoup the salary I was paid for the hours I have already worked, even if he no longer wants to be my friend or work with me.”

Gamble also asks for reimbursement for lost wages, which were $5,000 a month, totaling $15,000. He also seeks $100,000 for his stake in West Linn Guys, which is the LLC that owns Mean Street Pizza.

The countersuit also alleges that Sonnen is using the lawsuit to gain notoriety and seeks up to $200,000 for harm to Gamble’s reputation and career. In all, Gamble is seeking up to $400,000.

“Sonnen has profited off the publicity of this lawsuit and some of his business practices as a UFC fighter because he gets paid for having his name in the media and gaining new fans and followers,” states the complaint. “As Sonnen is about ready to have the biggest fight of his life, he now turns on a business partner to further drum up business and promote his television/fight persona that is defined by Sonnen as a persona calling himself a ‘gangster that lives by his own rules.’ ”

Gamble said, “While Chael was busy building up to big fights, I was busy building our business. I ran the day-to-day operations, but now that Chael needs to attract attention for his next big fight, I have become the latest casualty in his need for hype.”

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