Last month, former Chicago Cubs star and 2016 World Series MVP Ben Zobrist filed a lawsuit against his former pastor Byron Yawn, alleging that he had an affair with his wife Julianna Zobrist and defrauded his charitable foundation, all while serving as his spiritual counselor and confidant.
Julianna Zobrist is now seeking an additional $4 million in a settlement because of salary forfeited when the former infielder took a leave of absence during the 2019 season.
According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, Julianna Zobrist claimed in court documents that Ben Zobrist failed “to preserve marital assets” by leaving the Cubs in 2019. Because of the leave, Ben earned only $4.5 million instead of the $12 million his contract called for.
It should be noted that Zobrist left the team because he was having marital problems.
“Rather than accepting blame for having torn her husband’s heart out by having an affair with their pastor, she expected him to be able to totally focus in an elite athletic job that required (100%) of his physical and mental energy,” Rogers writes in the memorandum. “It is Mrs. Zobrist, by having the extramarital affair and confessing same to her husband, and not disclosing the true extent of her affair, that caused him such extreme mental distress and difficulty that resulted in an inability to finish his long and very successful career in the way that he had hoped for and planned for.”
The court document claims that Ben “essentially went from the top of his game to basically giving up, which caused a massive loss in income,” according to the Tribune report.
Yawn also served as a counselor for Ben Zobrist during his baseball career, with Zobrist confiding in the pastor about his struggles with “anxiety and depression,” according to the suit. Yawn allegedly began to “secretly pursue an intimate relationship” with Julianna, and began meeting her for sex in the spring of 2019.
Julianna Zobrist and Yawn allegedly used “burner phones” to help hide the relationship. Text messages sent from Ben Zobrist to Yawn during that time indicate that the former Cubs player was staying away from the team during spring training in 2019 to work on his marriage.
“She used the words ‘emotional, verbal and spiritual abuse.’ I was shocked,” Zobrist said in the text message. “Can’t be 2000 miles away from her and the kids while she’s thinking that about me.”
Yawn, who was allegedly involved in a sexual relationship with Julianna Zobrist at the time, responded with “feigned words of sympathy and friendship,” according to the suit.
Ben is seeking $3 million in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages against his former pastor, according to the suit.