DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - A local youth football team feels like they got played. They claim they're out thousands of dollars because they paid for uniforms they never got.
The check has been cashed; $8,000 paid as a deposit for football uniforms to Ego Sports, run by Ego Ferguson, Sr. He's the father of former LSU defensive tackle Ego Ferguson, recently drafted by the Chicago Bears. But it's the Yellow Jackets of Denham Springs feeling the sting.
"He knows what we're about, he knows that financially we have to work hard to come up with the money to pay for these uniforms, and just to drop off the face of the earth and not communicate with us, it's inexcusable," said Dennis Weber, president of the Denham Springs Youth Football Association.
Weber said the process started last year when the elder Ferguson approached the Yellow Jackets about buying uniforms from his company. Weber said the price was right for 145 jerseys and pants; $16,000 with a little lagniappe thrown in to sweeten the deal.
"He also told us that if we were able to do business with him, that he would make sure that his son came out and visited our boys and encouraged them in football. Of course that hasn't happened," Weber said.
Ferguson sent a mock-up uniform, but the colors weren't exactly right, so the association requested changes in April. In an email dated April 25th Ferguson acknowledged the changes.
"'I will be in Miami on May 1st, so will be able to put my eyes on the progress. Hope all is well. Ego.' And that is the last correspondence that we've had from him. We have tried emailing, texting, calling, literally – I don't know – 50 or 60 messages," Weber explained.
Now two months later, with practice just a week away, the organization has to raise more funds to supplement their old uniforms. Then they'll need even more cash to try and get their money back.
"If he doesn't contact us, then a certified letter is going to be sent giving him one more week to make contact, and then we'll be filing suit and criminal charges," Weber said.
After being contacted by 9News, a representative for Ferguson sent the following statement:
"Due to circumstances beyond our control, our principal uniform vendor (Fergo Sports) who we contracted to complete the uniform order for Mr. Weber has since gone out of business after accepting compensation to complete the uniform order. We deeply regret the inability to deliver uniforms as promised. We are currently seeking our own restitution. In our dealings, we believe we conducted business appropriately according to industry standards to the best of our ability."
-B. Green Media on behalf of Ego Ferguson
Weber said the controversy has likely kept registration down this year, with only 80 kids signed up so far. They're normally at 120 by this time, he said. Football registration is open to kids ages 5 – 12 and runs through August 29th.