Tiger’s attorneys: No tenancy deal with ex-GF

1:21 PM ET

  • Mark SchlabachESPN Senior Writer

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    • Senior college football writer
    • Author of seven books on college football
    • Graduate of the University of Georgia

Attorneys for Tiger Woods said he never had an oral or written tenancy agreement with former girlfriend Erica Herman, who has sued a trust — that she claims Woods controls — for at least $30 million after he asked her to move out of his home following their breakup in October.

In the latest court filing in Herman’s lawsuit against the Jupiter Island Irrevocable Homestead Trust, Woods asked to intervene as a defendant in the case in the 19th Judicial Circuit Court in Martin County, Florida.

In a motion to intervene, Woods’ attorneys wrote that Herman sued the trust to avoid an agreement she had made with the 15-time major champion to arbitrate all disputes. Herman, who worked as a general manager of Woods’ restaurant before starting a personal relationship with him, is also asking a judge to remove her from a nondisclosure agreement she had signed with him on Aug. 9, 2017.

Woods’ attorneys claim the trust owns “only a limited remainder interest” in his home in Jupiter, Florida.

“Though this action involves Mr. Woods’ personal residence and arises out of Mr. Woods’ decision that Plaintiff should no longer live in his home following the breakup, Plaintiff did not sue Mr. Woods,” the motion to intervene said. “The disputes raised by Ms. Herman in the lawsuit against the trust are, in fact, disputes between Ms. Herman and Mr. Woods.”

Herman is alleging she had an oral tenancy agreement that allowed her to live in Woods’ personal home rent-free and expense-free in exchange for her performing personal services during their six-year relationship. She claims the agreement was breached when Woods informed her that he was ending their relationship on Oct. 13. She alleges there were about five years left on the oral agreement at the time.

Woods’ attorneys dispute that he had an oral tenancy agreement with Herman.

“During their relationship, Mr. Woods invited Ms. Herman to live with him as his guest in the Residence,” the motion said. “Mr. Woods never negotiated an oral tenancy agreement with Ms. Herman. Nor was there ever a written tenancy agreement between Mr. Woods or the Trust, on the one hand, and Ms. Herman, on the other hand. Mr. Woods never transferred to Ms. Herman any ownership interest in or rights of possession to the Residence.”

The latest motion said Woods arranged for Herman to stay in a local luxury resort and gave her money to apply toward a new residence after their breakup.

In a civil complaint filed Monday, Herman’s attorney alleged that Woods forced Herman to sign an NDA. Herman believes the NDA is “invalid and unenforceable” and that the trust is wrongfully using it against her. Herman’s attorney is citing a federal law, the Speak Out Act, that prevents the enforcement of nondisclosure agreements in instances of sexual assault and harassment.

Herman didn’t make any specific allegations against Woods.

The latest court filing notes that Woods started arbitration proceedings on Dec. 22 to establish that Herman has no right to live in his residence and is not entitled to monetary damages from him. But the proceedings were halted on Jan. 26 after she alleged that she cannot be compelled to arbitrate “because her claims alleging breach of an oral tenancy agreement involve a ‘sexual harassment dispute.'”