Skip to comments.Homeowner alleges Reggie Bush family paid no rent ($3.2 million lawsuit filed)
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."
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...
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.
$54,000 rent will be a drop in the bucket, but somehow the lawsuit is for over $3 million.
They can rent my house for 4500!! Comes with a golf course too!
Isn't that a violation of NCAA rules?
The NCAA will take away every USC victory from last season since Bush played in those games illegally.
espn reporting Texas leading back towards Willaims in the last 24 hours.........
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.
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...
Because he wanted leverage over Bush to make him sign as an agent. It was extortion and blackmail.
I guess The Houston Texans don't want him either. There are rumors that Houston Texans and Mario Williams is a done deal:
I'll predict it here first (unless some else already has) the Reggie is going to be a bust.
Spoken like a true Bruin.
Your link had a contest to punch out Dubya. It also had a fart button to push. Is this where you usually hang out?
Yes, big time.
Vince? Is that you?
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???
Oh please. The ads are placed by independent companies. They have all manner of different themes to get clicks.
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?
"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.
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.
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...
ND is the bastion of BS.
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...
My Football dwellings are not as intellectually advanced as freerepublic. Their Football rumors are spot on
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.
Sometimes you make sense, and sometimes you make statements like this.
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.
I punched out Dubya. Be honest - didja ever press the fart button?
That, along with USC's wins, are still on the table. Hold on tight...
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
Reggie never lived there unless you've seen something I haven't seen.
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.
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?
Spring Valley is nowhere near USC, so Reggie Bush was not living there in the past year.
That's a no-brainer.
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.
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...
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