The ex-girlfriend of Chicago Bears legend Brian Urlacher is seeking $125 million in a defamation lawsuit filed Jan. 12 in Cook County Circuit Court.
In her complaint, Tyna Karageorge, formerly Tyna Robertson, who is representing herself in the case, is seeking compensation from Urlacher, as well as the Chicago firm of Schiller, Ducanto & Fleck LLC, and its attorneys Donald Schiller, Leslie Arenson, Anita Ventrelli and lawyer Thomas Rainers. Chicago Tribune columnist David Haugh and the newspaper are also named as defendants.
The root issue is the Dec. 29, 2016, death of Ryan Karageorge, who lived in Willow Springs with Tyna and her two minor sons, identified as KU, 12, and BG, 9. The older boy is Urlacher’s child. According to the complaint, Urlacher “initiated, participated in, supervised, directed (and) enjoined with” a plan to have Tyna indicted for murder, allowing KU to be unlawfully moved to Arizona.
The complaint alleges the defendants attempted to influence or obstruct the Willow Springs Police Department and the Cook County Medical Examiners Office to name Karageorge a suspect in the death and also engaged in entrapment and blackmail to prevent her from seeing her son for more than six months.
Urlacher played for the Bears from 2002 through 2012 and is being considered for induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Karageorge seeks $25 million in punitive damages and $100 million in compensatory damages.
According to her complaint, Karageorge and Urlacher haggled over custody of the son since a month after his May 2005 birth. They reconciled in 2009, and Karageorge said Urlacher blamed his past actions on Schiller. The romantic relationship ended in 2010, although Karageorge said they continued to have a decent co-parenting relationship. She said she rebuffed Urlacher’s attempts to rekindle a romantic relationship.
The second son, BG, was born in 2008. Shortly after his birth she moved to the Willow Springs area. She married Ryan Karageorge on Sept. 2, 2016, after eight months of dating. According to the complaint, Ryan Karageorge was “highly intoxicated” when he physically assaulted Tyna on Dec. 29 and, minutes later, fatally shot himself. All the children were away from home on winter break from school; KU was with Urlacher in Idaho.
According to the complaint, Urlacher, along with the attorneys, “within hours of the tragedy” deployed a plan to paint Tyna as a suspect and seize custody of KU. She maintained there was video evidence of officers responding to the scene indicating the death was a suicide, and the complaint includes verbatim testimony from a Jan. 9, 2017, custody hearing at which Karageorge argued Urlacher has guns at his property, making it no safer than her home.
The complaint also includes text messages Karageorge and Urlacher sent each other in the hours after the shooting, which Karageorge said display “aggressive, disturbing and inhumane behavior … a relentless nonstop aggression to inflict as much pain (and) suffering that any human should have to endure.” She also included messages sent after the Jan. 9 hearing in which she said Urlacher wanted to let her see her son before he left for Arizona despite how she was portrayed as unsafe and unfit.
Karageorge said Haugh wrote about the situation in a Jan. 12, 2017, column, a piece she said served to “defame and demolish a mother whom (sic) just lost her husband and son, and stepson, within 10 days.” She noted Haugh’s piece became fodder for local and national media coverage as well.
Formal allegations include defamation, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress.