LSU admits to making ‘nominal’ alterations to John Chavis’ contract; judge tells coach to submit phone records _lowres

Advocate staff photo by Ross Dellenger -- Former LSU Defensive Coordinator John Chavis returned to Baton Rouge on Thursday for a court hearing.

Les Miles has more to worry about than readying his team for the 2016 football season.

He’s being deposed later this month.

Miles, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and Aggies defensive coordinator John Chavis are all scheduled for depositions this month in the on-going civil case between LSU and its ex-assistant, Chavis, multiple sources told The Advocate.

Attorneys for both sides – LSU and Chavis – are attempting to perform day-long depositions ahead of the football season, the latest chapter in a case that’s spanned more than 16 months.

A subpoena, even, has been issued for one man: Chavis’ Maryland-based agent Tony Agnone. A Maryland court last week issued the subpoena compelling Agnone to appear at the Circuit Court for Baltimore County on July 29 for a deposition, according to court records obtained by The Advocate.

Court records say LSU lawyers are seeking all texts, emails, documents and other written communication exchanged between Agnone and Chavis from Nov. 1, 2014 to Feb. 11, 2015 – a key span in which the coach left LSU and, according to LSU, began actively working for his new employer, Texas A&M. LSU lawyers also wish to see documents exchanged between Agnone and anyone employed by or representing Texas A&M.

LSU attorneys requested the subpoena after Agnone did not respond to attempts at contacting him, documents say. Agnone founded Eastern Athletic Services, a Maryland agency that represents more than three dozen NFL players.

LSU’s lead attorney, Bob Barton, and Chavis’ attorney, Jill Craft, confirmed this week that depositions are beginning. The two declined any further comment.

Depositions are the latest step in a case pitting Chavis and LSU – a wrangling in the 19th Judicial Court in East Baton Rouge Parish over the coach’s $400,000 buyout that the school claims he owes. A&M must foot the bill for Chavis’ buyout, according to the coach’s contract with the Aggies.

Chavis turned over his phone records in April for that same 14-week period spanning 2014 and 2015 - a stretch of time at the heart of the suit. LSU contends Chavis owes the school a $400,000 buyout for leaving before Jan. 31, 2015. Chavis and A&M claim the coach did not officially begin work until Feb. 13, 2015.

Chavis, though, is seen in photographs recruiting for Texas A&M during the month of January, even posing for photos with prospects while wearing Texas A&M gear.

The timing of Chavis’ departure is essential to the case. Chavis would owe no buyout if he left after Jan. 31, 2015, according to the coach’s contract.

This fight between the school and Chavis began with both parties each filing a suit in February of last year – one from Chavis in Texas and LSU’s suit in Louisiana. Chavis’ suit in Texas was dismissed last year.

While LSU wants the buyout money, Chavis claims the school owes him more than $200,000 in unpaid vacation wages and academic performance bonuses and another $445,000 in penalty wages. He also contends the school altered his contract after he signed it – something LSU admitted in December. The school called it a “nominal” alteration that did not change the meaning of the document.

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger