By Jerry Bonkowski
Pssst, Jeremy Mayfield, I've got some advice for you. Go grab a pen and paper. I'll wait.
Okay, now write this number down and then call it as soon as you can: 212-751-9800.
When the receptionist answers, ask for Uncle Benny, the guy in charge. Say you were recommended and referred by "a friend," and that you have a big problem with a word that has become near and dear to Benny's heart: NASCAR.
And if NASCAR finds out you're dealing with him, you'll probably be back racing in no time. Trust me on this one.
With the exception of his surprise appearance Saturday at the Sprint All-Star Race, Mayfield has been lying especially low and holding his cards extremely close to the vest.
Rumors have floated that Mayfield is looking for the right legal team to represent him in a potential lawsuit against NASCAR for his indefinite suspension after testing positive on a drug screening test.
So, J-man, call Uncle Benny right now. I'm betting he'll be VERY glad to hear from you.
So who is this mysterious Uncle Benny? Well, his legal name is Benedict P. Morelli and he's the lead principal in the New York City-based powerhouse legal firm of Morelli Ratner PC (and no, the PC does not stand for politically correct).
Sound familiar yet? No?
Okay, what if I give you another name: Mauricia Grant. Ring a bell?
Alright, let's cut to the chase – and I'm not talking about the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Morelli represented Grant, a former NASCAR at-track official, in her $225 million sexual harassment and racial discrimination case against NASCAR last year.
When Grant's suit first became public, NASCAR chairman Brian France publicly said the sanctioning body would vigorously defend itself against her allegations, further stating that he felt they were, for the most part, baseless.
That was until Uncle Benny stepped into the picture. Within just a few months, before the case ever saw the inside of a New York federal courtroom, Morelli made France eat his words and eventually cave to agreeing on a multi-million dollar out-of-court settlement that left Grant "very happy" and with "closure so she could move on," Uncle Benny would proudly say afterward.
If you go to Uncle Benny's legal firm's Web site, MorelliLaw.com, you'll see his proud face with a semi-smug smile staring back at you.
I mean, the guy looks like something out of The Sopranos, someone you don't want to mess around with. I wouldn't be surprised if he has a couple of brothers or cousins named Vito and Carmine.
NASCAR made the mistake of trying to mess around with Morelli and Grant, and if rumors are to be believed, wound up paying a price north of $20 million for that foolish mistake – while NASCAR's own lawyers slinked off into anonymity to lick their wounds and swallow their pride.
Now, Jeremy, I want you to pay particular attention to Morelli's bio, right there under his picture. His firm specializes in a number of areas, particularly victims of DRUG LITIGATION, EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION, MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE, MEDICAL MALPRACTICE, LABOR LAW and GENERAL NEGLIGENCE.
I've capitalized those particular specialties because Mayfield's case could potentially fall under some or all of those same areas.
I especially like one of the firm's publicity statements: "Morelli Ratner PC never hesitates, no matter how powerful the adversary."
So, Jeremy, pick up the phone and call Uncle Benny right away. I'm sure he'll love to talk with you. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if hasn't been patiently waiting to hear from you already.
If you make that call, don't be surprised if Uncle Benny shows a great deal of interest in your case, and then says something like, "NASCAR did WHAT to you? I guess they never learn. Guess we'll have to teach 'em a lesson all over again."
Oh, and Jeremy, when Uncle Benny wins that big settlement for you, just like he did for Mauricia, I expect more than just a few words of thanks. Rather, I'll be expecting a 10 percent finder's fee.