Jim Palmer, the Hall of Fame pitcher who played all 19 seasons of his MLB career with the Baltimore Orioles, filed a civil lawsuit claiming he lost almost $1 million in a fraudulent business scheme ran by a hair stylist, per The Athletic.
The lawsuit, filed to the Supreme Court in Orange County, California, alleges Warren Michael Holmes, a friend of the family, is under breach of contract for business and personal loans, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud in the inducement and unjust enrichment.
Palmer’s lawsuit claims that Holmes “misrepresented himself as a prominent British hair stylist,” and he and his wife gave him $985,000 in loans to help start a beauty product line.
Palmer’s wife, Susan, told The Athletic, “We understand people are going to think we are the most gullible people on the face of the Earth. Well, OK. I just want to make sure he doesn’t do this again.”
Holmes even got to the point where he befriended Palmer’s autistic stepson, Spencer, so much so that the Palmer family named him his guardian and manager of his trust.
Palmer noted that his stepson was “used as a pawn” for Holmes’ gain.
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“Whether (Holmes) hoodwinked us or not, there is no way in the world he could have without ingratiating himself into our family and giving us the feeling that if anything happened to me — because I’m 21 years older than Susan — and then Susan had some kind of memory issue or whatever, that he was going to take care of Spencer,” Palmer told The Athletic.
Susan is genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease.
“That’s priceless,” the legendary pitcher continued. “I’m not saying (it gives you) the right to steal a million dollars. But the bottom line is, emotionally, physically, we helped him. We funded the money to supposedly realize his dream, to allow him to be what he wanted to be. And then he just disappeared.”
The suit states that Holmes met the Palmers through mutual friends in California, where the family has resided since his pitching and broadcast days came to an end with the Orioles after being such a force in Baltimore’s baseball scene for years.
Holmes allegedly pitched the Palmers on several beauty products, including a haircare brand called “Poo,” as well as an eyeliner called “B—- Brow” in 2018. He had previously failed to acquire loans from investors in the past, but the Palmers agreed to give him $750,000 in November 2018 after Holmes said the products would be produced in California near their home.
He intended to call it “Love Brands.”
However, Palmer saw no money returned to him as an investor, and in 2022, Holmes came asking for more – another $235,000. His lawsuit says it was “because he was concerned that nothing had launched, and without a launch of some product, Mr. Holmes would not be able to pay Mr. Palmer back.”
Holmes went a step further in March 2023, asking Palmer for $2.5 million, to which the former pitcher put his foot down. Holmes said it was to become “a global beauty brand.”
“It was a short-term loan,” Palmer, who believes it is unlikely his investment will be returned to him, said. “It would have been nice to have a little bit of income coming in if his products were launched and successful — and the way he sold it, I would have bought the Brooklyn Bridge. He was a great salesman.”
Holmes, a charismatic man, cannot be located and has not been served with the lawsuit.
An initial court appearance is currently scheduled for Feb. 22.