Here's more proof of how popular the Oklahoma City Thunder has become: Fans are fighting it out in court over tickets.
At issue are two club-level tickets to a third of the home games for the 2012-2013 season. An Oklahoma County judge is being asked to decide who gets them.
“I just want my tickets. I just want to see the Thunder,” said Oklahoma City attorney Doug Friesen, who is suing season ticket holder Diane Strube and her husband.
“The deal was that there were three of us that went in on these tickets. They were going to be split three ways,” he said. “Initially, the contract was for three years.”
He said he got his share of the tickets last season but Strube has refused to turn over his share for this season. He said a check for the tickets was returned.
Friesen told District Judge Bill Graves in his lawsuit that he had a verbal contract for the tickets. He is asking the judge to order Strube to turn over his tickets.
The lawsuit also seeks “damages in excess of $10,000 for fraud, attorney fees, costs and other just and equitable relief the Court deems just and equitable.”
Strube, an Oklahoma City accountant, is asking the judge to dismiss the lawsuit. “We just think there's no legal claim, no recognizable legal claim. It ought to be just dismissed,” said her attorney, John B. Heatly.
Strube offered Friesen's girlfriend, Lana Cohlmia, a third of last season's tickets, her attorney told the judge. “The agreement was made for the 2011-2012 season only,” Heatly wrote in the motion to dismiss.
Heatly also told the judge that Strube and her husband only dealt with Friesen's girlfriend, that the couple “had no actual verbal or face-to-face contact with” Friesen. The attorney wrote that Strube returned to Cohlmia a $1,750 check for this season's tickets.
Heatly attached a copy of the July 26 check to the motion to dismiss and reported to the judge that the check was written on the trust account of Cohlmia, an attorney.
Healty also reported to the judge that Strube and her husband learned toward the end of last season that Friesen scalped some tickets. The attorney told the judge the Thunder could have dropped Strube as a season-ticket holder because of Friesen's conduct.
Strube's agreement with the Thunder has an “anti-scalping” provision. It permits tickets to be resold only through the Thunder's authorized ticket reseller.
Friesen denies scalping tickets. He said he used all his regular-season tickets except once, when Cohlmia decided at the last minute she couldn't go because of pain from a foot operation. “I ended up selling them at face value. I didn't make a penny off of it,” Friesen said.
Told of the denial, Strube said, “Oh, baloney.”
She told The Oklahoman she knows Friesen scalped tickets to a playoff game. “I saw with my own eyes the tickets on StubHub for a playoff game,” she said.
Strube resents being accused in the lawsuit of fraud. “Why is he suing me because his girlfriend wrote a check on her trust account?” she asked. “I'm not the one doing any fraud.”
The Thunder has its first preseason game Wednesday night in Hidalgo, Texas. The Thunder's first regular-season home game is Nov. 2.