NASCAR Sprint Cup car owner says he’s tried to settle civil case for three years

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Team Xtreme car owner John Cohen, who has had a bench warrant issued in New Jersey in relation to a civil lawsuit, said he’s tried to settle the matter for three years, and that he has a new lawyer handling the case.

“For three years I offered $50,000, which is the only money I received,’’ Cohen told NASCAR Talk in the Sprint Cup garage Friday at Phoenix International Raceway.

The warrant states that Cohen failed to abide by a Aug. 2014 court order, according to nj.com. That order came from a civil lawsuit settlement that he repay two business partners $55,000 from a failed Manhattan night club venture.

An attorney representing the investors told USA Today that he has begun the process of placing a lien on Cohen’s assets for repayment and said “if (Cohen) doesn’t pay the judgment, then I’ll start the process of seizing assists, including the car.’’

Cohen’s response: “No way.

“If you look at the initial complaint, it had nothing to do with the race team,’’ he said. “A year later, they tried to say they gave me money for tires to gain leverage on the team. I wasn’t racing in 2010.’’

ESPN.com reported that a complaint stated one of the investors gave Cohen $3,000 to help buy tires for a race in 2010.

Cohen said he’s made NASCAR aware of the matter.

“I contacted them, but it’s not a criminal case,’’ he said. “No crime has been committed.’’

Cohen also is in a lawsuit against Brandon Davis and Swan Racing. The complaint from Swan Racing alleges that in agreement to taking the car owner points from the No. 30 team in 2014, Cohen’s team would pay $200,000. Cohen’s team was to pay Swan Racing monthly in payments equal to 10 percent of the prize money earned by the car in Cup races.

The complain alleges that after running the No. 30 car in one race after the agreement – April 2014 at Richmond International Raceway – the team changed the car number to No. 44 and failed to pay what it owed.

Cohen’s response states that the team, with the assistance of Swan Racing and Brandon Davis, transferred the points to the No. 44 team “per the agreement to do so.’’ Swan Racing filed a response and denied that.

As for the Swan Racing lawsuit, Cohen said: “Swan, when I first got into the deal with him, I didn’t know that he owed to a lot of money to a lot of people and I was getting lawsuits from different people, so I backed out of one of the deals we had.’’