Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner has filed a civil lawsuit against an Arizona couple, claiming the two have defamed him and attempted to extort and blackmail him and his family.
According to multiple reports, Pastner filed the civil suit in Superior Court of Arizona in Pima County against Ron Bell and his girlfriend, Jennifer Pendley. Bell admitted to CBS Sports last year he provided benefits to Tech players Tadric Jackson and Josh Okogie, in violation of NCAA rules. The two players were suspended three and six games, respectively, to start the season.
Bell alleged Pastner knew about the benefits and encouraged them, a claim Pastner denies.
A statement issued by Pastner’s attorneys outlines his allegations in the suit: “Ronald Bell and Jennifer Pendley have threatened Josh and his family on numerous occasions, falsely alleging that Josh was aware of NCAA violations and in violation of NCAA rules and, when the threat of exposing these false NCAA violations did not result in a monetary payout for Mr. Bell and Ms. Pendley, they moved on, more incredulously, to falsely claim that Josh had assaulted Mrs. Pendley on multiple occasions. Their release of information that they knew was materially false, inaccurate and misleading, has done great harm. Their allegations are fabricated and false.”
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Pastner also filed an injunction against Bell in superior court, which it granted. The injunction bars Bell from contacting Pastner and his wife, Kerri. It also orders him to stay away from the Georgia Tech campus and the Pastner’s home.
“I am disgusted and devastated by the actions of two individuals to whom I showed compassion,” Pastner said in a statement through his attorneys. “My family and I are victims of fraud and extortion and to the extent to which these individuals have gone to harm us is truly unfathomable. I absolutely and unequivocally never assaulted or harassed Ms. Pendley and I am truly sickened by these false claims.”
Bell told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Pastner’s statements were “100 percent false.”
Okogie, a sophomore guard, is Tech’s leading scorer this season at 19.6 points. Jackson, a senior guard, is second with 13.7 ppg.