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Published: Tuesday, 10/6/2009

Rodriguez argues federal suit


COLUMBIA, S.C. - The federal lawsuit filed against Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez in South Carolina over a defunct real estate deal should be tossed out and refiled elsewhere, the coach argued in federal court documents filed Monday.

The multimillion-dollar lawsuit should be argued in federal court in Virginia, where the property in question is located, an attorney for Rodriguez said in a motion requesting that the South Carolina case be dismissed.

In September, 2007, when Rodriguez was coaching at West Virginia, a Spartanburg, S.C.-based bank loaned the coach and his partner more than $26 million to build condominiums overlooking Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium. But as the 80-unit project struggled amid the economic downturn, that amount was later amended to about $3.63 million, the cost of only the land itself.

Earlier this year, an Alabama bank with an interest in the loan sued Rodriguez in South Carolina, saying the coach owes $3.9 million - the land cost, plus interest and fees - for defaulting on the loan.

Rodriguez's attorney contends the case should be moved from South Carolina because the state has no real connection to the loan as it stands: Rodriguez lives in Michigan; Nexity Bank, which holds the loan, is in Alabama; and the property in question is in Virginia. Banc Capital, the bank that loaned Rodriguez the money, is not part of the lawsuit.

Attorneys for Nexity did not immediately return messages seeking comment yesterday.

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