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Homeowner alleges Reggie Bush family paid no rent ($3.2 million lawsuit filed)
Yahoo News ^ | 4/27/06 | Charles Robinson

Posted on 04/28/2006 3:27:35 PM PDT by Libloather

Homeowner alleges Bush family paid no rent
By Charles Robinson, Yahoo! Sports
April 27, 2006

More Robinson: Who will pay for Bush home inquiry?

Michael Michaels, who owns the Spring Valley, Calif., home in which Reggie Bush's family lived for nearly a year, said Thursday he will file a $3.2 million lawsuit for fraud against the Bush family Friday to recoup unpaid rent and other finances given to the USC star's family.

Michaels' attorney, Brian Watkins, alleged Thursday night that Bush's mother and stepfather, Denise and LaMar Griffin, failed to pay $54,000 in rent for the home that has become the center of a joint Pacific 10 Conference and NCAA investigation. Watkins also said that Michaels supplied money to the Bush family, including financing that allowed them to travel to several USC road games last season.

Not paying rent and taking cash from Michaels could constitute extra benefits and a violation of NCAA rules by Bush. Student-athletes, their friends and relatives are prohibited from receiving extra benefits from professional sports agents, marketing companies or their representatives. A breach of these statutes could result in an athlete being ruled ineligible, and games in which they played could be forfeited.

According to Watkins, Michaels became involved with the Bush family after LaMar Griffin and Lloyd Lake sought to establish New Era Sports & Entertainment – with Bush as a future client – in November 2004, prior to the Trojans winning that season's national championship.

Watkins said Michaels' role in New Era Sports was that of primary investor, and that Michaels' relationship with the family fell apart in recent months – after Bush signed with agent Joel Segal and didn't make good on a commitment to join New Era.

"There was an agreement that they weren't supposed to live free and mooch in that house," Watkins said of Bush's family. "They were supposed to pay rent. But they never paid one dime. Their premise for not paying was that, ‘Next month, we'll pay you. Next month we'll pay you.'

"Then it got to the extent where they were saying, ‘Well, don't worry about it, it's all guaranteed because we're going to be owners of this marketing and agency business, we'll give it to you out of our profits.' Twelve months passed by in that house, and not one dollar was paid."

Said Michaels: "They took advantage of me."

Bush has denied knowledge of any deal his family may have had with Michaels.

Watkins said that after New Era Sports & Entertainment failed as a business, Michaels sought to recoup $300,000 in back rent and other finances spent while establishing New Era over the course of the last 12 months. The attorney said his claims will be documented by different forms of communication collected in recent months.

Watkins said he had been negotiating a settlement with Bush's lawyer, David Cornwell, for the last three to four months, but moved to evict the Bush family from the home in early April.

"Reggie said that, oh, he found them a nicer house and that's why they moved, but the truth is I served them with an eviction notice," Watkins said. "They did not pay any rent. To this date, they haven't paid any rent. We haven't even gotten the keys back from the house. That's what is going on here."

During a 40-minute interview, Watkins laid out a timeline for the rise and fall of New Era Sports & Entertainment, along with the relationship between Michaels and the Bush family. Among the significant points alleged:

- November 2004 – LaMar Griffin and Lake approached Michaels about investing in the sports agency. Watkins said Michaels met Bush and his family for the first time around this date, and was led to believe that the agency would eventually have Bush as a client.

"There was the representation that Reggie would come with his stepfather," Watkins said. "Reggie ratified that."

Shortly thereafter, Michaels introduced Griffin to the Sycuan Indian Tribe's governing council, at which time Griffin asked the tribe – while wearing a Bush USC jersey – to become investors in the agency. After the tribe declined, it was agreed that the partnership in the agency would be a three-way split between Michaels, Lake and Bush's family, according to Watkins.

- April 2005 – Michaels allowed the Bush family to move into a new home he had purchased in Spring Valley. The rent for staying at the home was to have been $4,500 a month, according to Watkins. "LaMar and Denise had financial problems," Watkins said. "Then it became, ‘Oh, we need a little something. We need a little money here, we need a little money there. But don't worry, it will all be paid back with our profits from the business.' They were saying this to Michael, who was carrying the lion's share of the money put into New Era. Michael Michaels had purchased a home, and hadn't rented it out. Around this time, the Griffin family needed a place to live. Michael Michaels let them move into the house."

- September 2005 through November, 2005 – Michaels provided money to help the Bush family travel to some road games during USC's season. Watkins did not specify the exact amounts given or the dates of travel to Yahoo! Sports.

"Yes, there was support there," Watkins said. "The [Griffins] said, ‘Don't worry about it. We'll pay it all back. It's all part of the business.' "

- October 2005– Michaels and Lake contact San Diego-based agent David Caravantes about a role with New Era Sports & Entertainment. Michaels and Lake offered to facilitate an interview with the Bush family.

- November 2005 – Reports surface that Bush and his family are being advised by Reebok consultant Mike Ornstein.

- December 2005 to January 2006 – Communication breaks down between Michaels and the Bush family. Bush hires agent Joel Segal by mid-January. With New Era out of the picture, Michaels considers ways to recoup his investment from the Bush family. "It fell apart when all of the sudden, LaMar Griffin and Denise would not return phone calls," Watkins said. "Voicemail messages, wouldn't return phone calls – they are missing in action."

- April 2006 – Yahoo! Sports approached Denise Griffin about the home April 20. Less than 24 hours later, the family began packing up the house and the residence was vacated by April 22. One day later, Yahoo! Sports published a report about the house, including information that USC had requested a Pac-10 inquiry.

The allegations by Watkins and Michaels conflict with some recent statements by Bush and his camp. Bush has denied knowing the financial arrangement between Michaels and his parents for the Spring Valley home, and he also denied ever having an agreement in place to join New Era Sports.

Bush, who is expected to be the No. 1 pick in this weekend's NFL draft, declined to answer questions about the rental agreement again on Thursday, when several top prospects met with the media in New York.

According to Watkins, the $300,000 figure "includes rent for the house and everything else" provided by Michaels. The remainder of the $3.2 million in the suit is for punitive damages.

"We're going to contend that they never planned to go forward with this [agency]," Watkins said. "They knew it was just a ruse. They were taking money and taking money and LaMar put very little work into it. It ended up being Michael Michaels and Lloyd Lake doing all the leg work – Michael Michaels and Lloyd Lake giving all the money and everything."

ESPN.com, quoting anonymous sources, reported Thursday night that the NFL Players Association and NFL Security had each independently concluded that Caravantes and New Era had used Watkins to demand $3.2 million from Bush. A source told ESPN that the NFLPA had filed a disciplinary complaint Thursday alleging that Watkins engaged in unlawful conduct by demanding payment in three letters dated Feb. 13, March 7 and April 26.

A source close to Bush also told ESPN that NFL Security has contacted the top four teams in the NFL draft and told them Bush was the victim of threats.

Watkins said the extortion claims were the last straw for Michaels, his client for the lawsuit.

"Let me be clear about this: We never wanted to do this in the press," Watkins said. "I was going to file the lawsuit after the draft so it didn't create a hoopla. I figured, after the draft, if he gets his big contract, Reggie is more likely to settle, because he knows they owe this money. They defrauded my client. [Michaels] did all the work, gave the lion's share of the money.

"The only reason we went public now is because the allegations have gotten so outrageous that I have to speak. When someone throws out the word ‘extortion,' we've got to speak. All that other bashing, we took it like men and smiled and prepared the lawsuit. Until they came out with this allegation of extortion. They brought this to the press. We didn't bring this to the press. We're going to be the plaintiffs in the case. They are going to be the defendants."


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 32; alleges; black; bush; family; filed; fraud; homeowner; lawsuit; million; ncaa; no; paid; reggie; reggiebush; rent; usc
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$54,000 in rent...

Sounds like a ton of rent to me.

On ESPN's PTI yesterday, Reggie Bush said his family LEASED the property and nothing will come of the story. Sure doesn't sound like it...

1 posted on 04/28/2006 3:27:41 PM PDT by Libloather
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To: Libloather

So the lease was for $54,000 and this guy wants $2M??? What a maroon. If your tenant is two months behind, you are toast. You don't wait twelve months.


2 posted on 04/28/2006 3:32:51 PM PDT by bpjam (Now accepting liberal apologies.....)
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To: Libloather

$54,000 rent will be a drop in the bucket, but somehow the lawsuit is for over $3 million.


3 posted on 04/28/2006 3:33:29 PM PDT by Williams
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To: Libloather

They can rent my house for 4500!! Comes with a golf course too!


4 posted on 04/28/2006 3:34:06 PM PDT by mmyers
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To: Libloather
Michaels' attorney, Brian Watkins, alleged Thursday night that Bush's mother and stepfather, Denise and LaMar Griffin, failed to pay $54,000 in rent for the home that has become the center of a joint Pacific 10 Conference and NCAA investigation. Watkins also said that Michaels supplied money to the Bush family, including financing that allowed them to travel to several USC road games last season.

Isn't that a violation of NCAA rules?

5 posted on 04/28/2006 3:34:39 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative
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To: Libloather
The NCAA is going to pull his Heisman Trophy over this. His family has screwed him, before he can make an honest dime with their greed. They only needed to wait a few months and their son could have given them the world. Now, that kid will carry a black mark no matter what he does in his pro career.
6 posted on 04/28/2006 3:40:37 PM PDT by Pukin Dog (Psst. Hey, do you know anything about roofing? You're illegal? Damn! Now, did I ASK YOU?)
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To: Libloather
And you know what else?

The NCAA will take away every USC victory from last season since Bush played in those games illegally.

7 posted on 04/28/2006 3:41:55 PM PDT by Pukin Dog (Psst. Hey, do you know anything about roofing? You're illegal? Damn! Now, did I ASK YOU?)
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To: Pukin Dog

espn reporting Texas leading back towards Willaims in the last 24 hours.........


8 posted on 04/28/2006 3:43:33 PM PDT by Paul8148
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To: Libloather

I find the owner more at fault because after two months, I would have started kicking them out. Why wait so long? Of course coincidentially when something goes wrong as it has with Bush right now, the guy must go to the media and should "Unfair". I am so suspect of people like that. I am not saying Bush was right, but I still find the owner has some sort of agenda.


9 posted on 04/28/2006 3:43:56 PM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: Paul8148

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/draft06/news/story?id=2425818


10 posted on 04/28/2006 3:44:23 PM PDT by Paul8148
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To: napscoordinator
I find the owner more at fault because after two months, I would have started kicking them out. Why wait so long?

I'm no renter. But from what I've seen and heard, depending on local laws, kicking someone out could take up to a year. All the while, the perps CONTINUE to live for free. Ugly stuff...

11 posted on 04/28/2006 3:49:37 PM PDT by Libloather (You say Dubai, and I say hello...)
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To: napscoordinator
I find the owner more at fault because after two months, I would have started kicking them out. Why wait so long?

Because he wanted leverage over Bush to make him sign as an agent. It was extortion and blackmail.

12 posted on 04/28/2006 3:55:35 PM PDT by Always Right
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To: Libloather
USC needs to lose their scholarships for a couple years.
13 posted on 04/28/2006 3:55:49 PM PDT by Echo Talon
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To: Libloather
As a USC alum and big football fan I find this whole Reggie Bush matter really depressing. The story already has had a lot of twists and turns so no knows how it is going to end up. But it would appear Reggie's Heisman trophy is in jeopardy as well as the Trojans entire 2005 football season. Pete Carroll must be going ballistic. This also could affect the incoming recruiting class.
14 posted on 04/28/2006 3:57:37 PM PDT by Uncle Hal
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To: Libloather

I guess The Houston Texans don't want him either. There are rumors that Houston Texans and Mario Williams is a done deal:

http://profootballtalk.com/


15 posted on 04/28/2006 3:57:41 PM PDT by slowhand520
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To: Pukin Dog
"...no matter what he does in his pro career.

I'll predict it here first (unless some else already has) the Reggie is going to be a bust.

16 posted on 04/28/2006 4:03:14 PM PDT by canalabamian (Durka durka...Muhammad FUBAR!)
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To: Echo Talon

Spoken like a true Bruin.


17 posted on 04/28/2006 4:10:06 PM PDT by 359Henrie (NASA needs one more moon rock, its in Mecca.)
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To: Uncle Hal

Fight on.


18 posted on 04/28/2006 4:10:30 PM PDT by 359Henrie (NASA needs one more moon rock, its in Mecca.)
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To: slowhand520

Your link had a contest to punch out Dubya. It also had a fart button to push. Is this where you usually hang out?


19 posted on 04/28/2006 4:10:53 PM PDT by Libloather (You say Dubai, and I say hello...)
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To: 359Henrie
Nope I'm a Purdue, ND fan.. just think its BS how they get away with stuff like this.
20 posted on 04/28/2006 4:11:24 PM PDT by Echo Talon
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To: Paleo Conservative

Yes, big time.


21 posted on 04/28/2006 4:12:46 PM PDT by BurbankKarl
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To: Paul8148
espn reporting Texas leading back towards Willaims in the last 24 hours.........

Vince? Is that you?

22 posted on 04/28/2006 4:12:58 PM PDT by socal_parrot (Pass)
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To: Libloather; bpjam

How did they take advantage of him???
Why did he wait a year to collect on the rent???
Why is he claiming 3mil when the rent was $54K???


23 posted on 04/28/2006 4:15:03 PM PDT by GeorgefromGeorgia
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To: Libloather

Oh please. The ads are placed by independent companies. They have all manner of different themes to get clicks.


24 posted on 04/28/2006 4:15:58 PM PDT by steveo (Fathers Against Rude Television: You may already be a member)
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To: Libloather

Bush's fault.


25 posted on 04/28/2006 4:16:20 PM PDT by Theo
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To: Libloather

I heard it said he was there for a year. $54,000 for a years rent is high for the kind of home I hear they had.

What were the terms of the lease?

Was there a contract?

How do we know the guy didn't say you can stay at my place so I can make more money when you lived there later saying a celebrity lived here.

I think the guy will get a higher price on the sale for the history, so maybe he already did get the payment.

If the guy or anyone else had a cow about this, why after he already left is this an issue and not anytime the whole year before?


26 posted on 04/28/2006 4:17:54 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: GeorgefromGeorgia

"How did they take advantage of him???
Why did he wait a year to collect on the rent???
Why is he claiming 3mil when the rent was $54K???"

Maybe because the lawsuit is a sham. An attempt by the booster to claim he was not boosting with money. Their may have been personal difficulties but I be surprised he thought he was doing anything for pay.


27 posted on 04/28/2006 4:19:35 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Echo Talon

Boilermakers I dig, I'm I bit worried myself. Seems to be a bit like Miami late 80's, early 90's. See how this plays out. Sanchez is in it deep.


28 posted on 04/28/2006 4:21:32 PM PDT by 359Henrie (NASA needs one more moon rock, its in Mecca.)
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To: canalabamian
I'll predict it here first (unless some else already has) the Reggie is going to be a bust.

I wished the same after witnessing the brash, gold-clad, Deion Sanders open his mouth before being drafted. He ended up being a GIANT force after joining America's Team.

This Reggie Bush dood has talent, but so did a bunch of others drafted in the past. ESPN has been putting on some really good shows about NFL busts. We'll just have to see which team wants his baggage...

29 posted on 04/28/2006 4:23:03 PM PDT by Libloather (You say Dubai, and I say hello...)
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To: Echo Talon
Nope I'm a Purdue, ND fan.. just think its BS how they get away with stuff like this.

ND is the bastion of BS.

30 posted on 04/28/2006 4:26:40 PM PDT by bfree (PC is BS)
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To: A CA Guy
I heard it said he was there for a year. $54,000 for a years rent is high for the kind of home I hear they had.

Peak season at Myrtle Beach could go as high as $3000 a week for a condo. $4500 a month for a nice San Diego house maybe low...

31 posted on 04/28/2006 4:28:03 PM PDT by Libloather (You say Dubai, and I say hello...)
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To: Libloather

My Football dwellings are not as intellectually advanced as freerepublic. Their Football rumors are spot on


32 posted on 04/28/2006 4:28:07 PM PDT by slowhand520
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To: Libloather

Lordy, Lordy.

I assumed that this was just another MSM shot at GW Bush, and wondered what relationship he was to the President. And a lot of people will see it that way.

I guess this was the USC dude?

My, my, my and my! $54,000 lease and a lawsuit for $3 Megs?

I couldn't afford a $54,000 lease. Playing ball must be profitable these days.


33 posted on 04/28/2006 4:31:12 PM PDT by Ole Okie
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To: Pukin Dog
The NCAA is going to pull his Heisman Trophy over this.

Sometimes you make sense, and sometimes you make statements like this.

34 posted on 04/28/2006 4:31:48 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Libloather

If the University of Oklahoma was in this particular situation, the NCAA would already have given them the death penalty.

But USC is pure in heart, and so the Trojans will continue onward and upward.

Excelsior, USC. Got another #1 recruiting class, didn't you?

No further comment, but I spit in USC's direction.


35 posted on 04/28/2006 4:36:54 PM PDT by Ole Okie
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To: slowhand520
My Football dwellings are not as intellectually advanced as freerepublic.

I punched out Dubya. Be honest - didja ever press the fart button?

36 posted on 04/28/2006 4:41:20 PM PDT by Libloather (You say Dubai, and I say hello...)
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To: Dog Gone
The NCAA is going to pull his Heisman Trophy over this.

That, along with USC's wins, are still on the table. Hold on tight...

37 posted on 04/28/2006 4:44:39 PM PDT by Libloather (You say Dubai, and I say hello...)
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To: Libloather

of course!


38 posted on 04/28/2006 4:46:14 PM PDT by slowhand520
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To: Libloather
Just a lawsuit to cover everyones ass.

The home and money were to take care of a star athlete and against the rules. Gifts.

By filing now and making these claims, everyone involved can hide behind it.

Reggice will pay off the "Debt" and everyone, especially the NCAA will be happy.

Just the way it works.

39 posted on 04/28/2006 4:53:21 PM PDT by vikzilla
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To: napscoordinator
Why wait so long?

Because he'll probably sell the house for an extra 250k for having Reggie Bush living there as part of the history of that home. Even if he only got a little off of Bush living there he still gets the extra 60k when he sells the house.

40 posted on 04/28/2006 4:57:40 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: napscoordinator

Of course if this landlord succeeds in making Bush unmarketable, then not only has he nobody to collect from, but he won't get the bump off the history of the house as well.


41 posted on 04/28/2006 5:01:03 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: slowhand520
...of course!

See? These are the kind of people you hang with! Sure, I gave Dubya a black eye and bloody nose, but YOU PRESSED THE FART BUTTON!

I wouldn't do that, even on the worst day...

42 posted on 04/28/2006 5:02:37 PM PDT by Libloather (You say Dubai, and I say hello...)
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To: bpjam

without a written and signed retal agreement, the owner of the property is screwed in most states. At this point he ought to be more concerned about a criminal prosecution for extortion.


43 posted on 04/28/2006 5:02:38 PM PDT by connectthedots
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To: A CA Guy

Reggie never lived there unless you've seen something I haven't seen.


44 posted on 04/28/2006 5:04:52 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: vikzilla

No written rental agreement = Owner SOL.

No written loan agreement regarding travel expenses repayments = SOL.

While Bush's parents may be somewhat unethical, I have no empathy for the scum who did this to themselves.


45 posted on 04/28/2006 5:06:44 PM PDT by connectthedots
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To: Dog Gone

I only read some report that he lived there for a year in the papers.
I always said that it sure seems strange he could have been there a year without anyone checking the house out.

So you know the story isn't true?


46 posted on 04/28/2006 5:07:13 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: A CA Guy

Spring Valley is nowhere near USC, so Reggie Bush was not living there in the past year.

That's a no-brainer.


47 posted on 04/28/2006 5:09:54 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone

They claimed his parents were and that it was against rules.
Of course, like I said, the landlord will make money on resale.

Can the parents really be held hostage in their behavior because their kid is a playing sports at college?

I don't get how their behavior is connected to the son or USC.


48 posted on 04/28/2006 5:12:37 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: A CA Guy; Dog Gone; slowhand520
I always said that it sure seems strange he could have been there a year without anyone checking the house out.

Someone knocks on the front door - and the entire contents of the place is moved out in less than 24 hours later? That would be hard to do, no matter how many Heisman trophies you own...

49 posted on 04/28/2006 5:17:14 PM PDT by Libloather (You say Dubai, and I say hello...)
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To: Libloather
Now a family who doesn't want to play getting all out in the middle of the night isn't that impossible or that uncommon at all.

They could have been taking boxes out in car trunks for a few weeks and storing them elsewhere and only had furniture to pull out after 9 at night and that could have been it.

You easily could have the house down with only 3 hours of furniture to move. I had a neighbor who pissed people off and they EXACTLY did that.

Easy to do. Do I think that happened here? To me that makes no sense.
50 posted on 04/28/2006 5:22:04 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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