Patrick Willis Sues Imprisoned Ex-business Partner for Millions - NBC Bay Area

Patrick Willis Sues Imprisoned Ex-business Partner for Millions



    Battle of the Bays: The Backstory You Need
    CSN Bay Area staff
    Patrick Willis sues imprisoned ex-business partner for millions

    Patrick Willis wants justice.

    The retired 49ers linebacker is suing his former business partner, Eren Niazi, for millions, according to a lawsuit filed last week in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

    Salvador Rodriguez of Inc. obtained a copy of the lawsuit, and provided the following context:

          Willis is now seeking full ownership of at least $2 million in disputed real estate as well as unspecified monetary damages from Niazi, whom he also accuses of breach of fiduciary duty...

          As for Niazi, the tech executive appears to have more problems than a legal dispute with Willis. The lawsuit comes about one month after he was arrested in Hollister, California, on what seem to be unrelated criminal charges.

          He is currently being held without bail at the San Benito County Jail, and he has been charged with use of a firearm, discharging a firearm, and endangering a child.

    Willis retired from football in March 2015. Two months later, he became a full-time employee at Open Source Storage (founded by Niazi) as executive vice president for partnerships and a board member.

    Earlier this year, Mashable published a profile on Willis that explained how Willis and Niazi connected.

    From's Matt Maiocco back in May:

          According to the article, it was a chance encounter between Willis and Open Source Storage CEO and founder Eren Niazi that helped Willis land on his feet with immediate employment and challenges outside of the NFL.

          The two men lived in the same South Bay neighborhood. Niazi spotted Willis, still recovering from a foot surgery, struggling to move bags from his car to the front door. Niazi assisted his neighbor without knowing Willis’ identity.

          "Usually when people walk up to me, they kind of already know who I am and have some motive," Willis said. "But he just insisted like, 'Let me help you with that.' Then he just took off. I thought it was cool."

          Niazi and Willis got to know each other better. Eventually, Willis was hired. He now takes part in interviews and helps in the hiring process of the company.

         "A lot of guys come in with a big ego, but Patrick’s not like that,” Niazi said. “He's just a total pleasure to work with."

    The 49ers drafted Willis with 11th overall pick in 2007. He reached the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven seasons.