Unsealed court documents reveal actor Will Smith, right, was concerned that loaning actor Duane Martin $1.4 million would cause a public relations nightmare for himself and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Will, 50, and Duane, 53, have been close friends for over 2 decades. But when Duane asked his longtime friend for a $1.4 million loan to save his home, Will hesitated to loan his friend the cash. The money wasn’t the issue – Will could certainly afford the loan.
According to The Blast, Will worried that his association with the $1.4 million loan would turn into a “PR nightmare.”
Newly unsealed documents including emails and text messages show the actor and his team feared the worst if the loan was made public.
Text messages exchanged between the two men reveal Duane increased his demands for the money. Duane pressured his friend to give him the loan and even had to be warned by Will’s legal team to back off.
Will’s team told Duane that the A-list actor wanted to help, but he didn’t want to put himself in any unnecessary risk.
Like a good husband, Will informed his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, of Duane’s demand for the money.
Jada, pictured at right with the Campbells, possibly helped Will to overcome his reluctance to help out a friend.
According to The Blast, private emails show Will directing his team to wrap up all outstanding issues with Duane. He wrote one of his advisors, “The point is to SIMULTANEOUSLY Get the books cleared while Helping Shake transition.”
“Shake” was Will’s codename for Duane.
But Will’s team expressed concerns over how Duane wanted the loan structured. Will’s team worried about the “questionable structure of the transaction.”
The reason for their concern was Duane and his now ex-wife, Tisha Campbell-Martin, needed the cash to purchase their home thorough a LLC because they didn’t want to list the house as an asset in a bankruptcy filing. But documents reveal Tisha rolled over on Duane, telling the bankruptcy trustee he hid the house from the court.
The trustee then sued Duane, demanding he turn over all documents related to the mansion sale, including who paid him the money to purchase the home from the bank.
In February, court documents revealed Will Smith was subpoenaed to turn over financial records, text messages and emails related to the $1.4 million loan.
The bankruptcy trustee alleges that Duane and Tisha set up Roxe LLC to allegedly conceal ownership of their 9,000 sq ft mansion in Chatsworth, California. They originally bought the home in 2006 for $900,000. Duane then borrowed $1.9 million from a bank using the house as collateral.
But when Duane defaulted on the bank loan he negotiated a short sale, and used the $1.4 million loan from Will and Jada to buy back the house from the bank.
The trustee alleges the couple entered into a lease agreement to pay their own company $5,000 a month rent. But the trustee says the lease was a fraud and the couple never paid any rent to the LLC.
In early 2018, Duane listed the home for $2,695,000 with the intention of pocketing the sales proceeds after paying back Will and Jada their $1.4 million.
The trustee’s lawsuit demands Duane be forced to turn over the home to the bankruptcy estate to be sold to pay back other creditors.
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