Josh Pastner to sue estranged friend Ron Bell for blackmail, extortion, threats

AP Photo/Gary Landers
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Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner has filed a lawsuit against former friend Ron Bell and his girlfriend, Jennifer Pendley, claiming the pair attempted to extort and blackmail Pastner and his family.

In November, Bell provided CBS Sports with text messages, receipts and photos as evidence to back up a claim that he provided impermissible benefits to two Georgia Tech basketball players, Josh Okogie and Tardic Jackson. Okogie and Jackson were eventually suspended for six and three games, respectively, by the NCAA.

Bell also claimed that Pastner knew about the violations, which Pastner has denied. According to the lawsuit, which was obtained by USA Today, Pastner also claims that Bell alleged that Pastner sexually assaulted Pendley and that Bell threatened to put Pastner into the hospital. The extortion claims stem from Bell’s efforts to get Pastner to pay him to keep him fro providing the NCAA with any information that he had.

“I am disgusted and devastated by the actions of these two individuals to whom I showed compassion,’’ Pastner said in a statement released by his attorney. “My family and I are victims of fraud and extortion and the extent to which these individuals have gone to harm us is truly unfathomable.’’