Lawsuit claims developer duped 19 NHL players out of $25 million

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NEW YORK - A golf resort developer duped nearly two dozen NHL players out of US$25 million, blowing the money on gratuitous parties that were attended by former Yankees players Roger Clemens and Reggie Jackson, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

The New York Post reported in Friday's edition that 19 former and current NHL players filed suit against Ken Jowdy, alleging they invested the money with the Las Vegas-based golf-course mogul to develop two luxury resorts in Mexico - a project they say is seven years behind schedule.

Instead, according to the players, Jowdy squandered the money on "lavish parties" to impress the likes of Clemens, Jackson and banned hits king Pete Rose, among others, who Jowdy hoped would eventually buy real estate in the planned resorts.

The lawsuit seeks the return of the $25 million they invested and $15 million in damages.

Former New York Rangers and Islanders defenceman Bryan Berard and one-time Islanders captain Michael Peca were hit the hardest, each losing $700,000 in the deal, according to the filing in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

"It's particularly uncomfortable for all," Berard told the Post. "He's taken our money without telling us, and it's supposedly all gone."

Other players involved in the alleged scam include: Chris Simon, who played for both the Rangers and Islanders; former Rangers Greg deVries, Steve Rucchin and Rem Murray; former New Jersey Devil Turner Stevenson; and Sergei Gonchar of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

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