Just weeks after he claimed he has full ownership of the National Arena League's Albany Empire, four-time first-team All-Pro NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown is distancing himself from being the owner of the organization.
Brown and his representatives said documents reportedly provided to the Albany Times Union newspaper showed that the team is owned by Antonio El-Allah Express Trust Enterprise and not Brown himself.
The Times Union said it received a letter from Empire team president Alberony Denis and lawyer Marlon Oliveira from Antonio El-Allah Express Trust in which Brown claims to be a “foreign national, but not a citizen of the United States at birth.” According to multiple sources available online, Brown was born in Miami, Florida.
The letter reportedly cites 8 U.S. Code section 1408, which is listed here. It classifies people as “nationals” but not citizens of the United States under certain circumstances, none of which seem to apply to Brown, Times Union reporter Abigail Rubel said.
Here is an excerpt from the letter:
“As you may know, I am involved with the ANTONIO EL-ALLAH EXPRESS TRUST ENTERPRISE (a ‘trust’), which is a separate entity from myself. While the Trust have 100 percent ownership stake in the ALBANY EMPIRE, I myself do not have any ownership or control over the team.”
However, the Antonio El-Allah Express Trust Enterprise controls 95 percent of the team. The other five percent is owned by a local couple, Charlotte and Steve von Schiller.
Earlier this week, it was reported the Empire had fallen into a state of “chaos” since Brown took control of the team on March 2nd. Rubel said the Empire organization had not paid its coaches or players since April 21st. Then-coach Damon Ware had left the team and six players were also suspended due to an incident on a team bus.
Brown, who played with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers over 12 NFL seasons, has been involved in numerous controversies over the last five years. You can take a look at some of them here.