"Spend a few minutes reading College Football Resource" - Whit Watson, Sun Sports

"Maybe you should start your own blog" - Bruce Feldman, ESPN

"[An] Excellent resource for all things college football. It’s blog index is the definitive listing of the CFB blogosphere ... [A] must-read for fans." - Sports Illustrated (On Campus)

"The big daddy of them all, the nerve center of this twisted college football blogsphere" - The House Rock Built

"Unsurprisingly, College Football Resource has generated some discussion" -Dawg Sports

Top Teams 2008

After Week Seven

  1. Alabama
  2. Penn State
  3. Texas
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Florida
  6. USC
  7. Georgia
  8. LSU
  9. BYU
  10. Missouri
  11. Ohio State
  12. Oklahoma State
  13. Texas Tech
  14. Utah
  15. Kansas
  16. USF
  17. North Carolina
  18. Miami
  19. Boise State
  20. Georgia Tech
Display
RSS
Search CFR
Submission Corner
« Mostly Spin, But... | Main | And Another Take »
Tuesday
Apr252006

"I Know for a Fact They Never Met With Reggie"

Hot off the wires, a story updating information about the Reggie Bush situation (or is this the same story formerly under subscription cover at Sports Business Daily? My apologies if this is more or less a repeat of HP's entry, I don't have subscription access to SBD).

Most of this fails once again to address whatever happened between Bush's parents and Michaels and whatever rent/lease payments were made, but we have someone on record saying Reggie Bush did not meet with New Era Sports & Entertainment founder Michael Michaels and his partner Lloyd Lake as well as agent pal David Caravantes.

"I know for a fact they never met with Reggie," said [David] Reyes, who advises pro athletes on how they can help minimize taxes on signing bonuses.

Michaels' name is on the deed to the home Bush's parents were living in.

We now have public testimony that Bush is not directly connected to Michaels or the agent Michaels was associated with, David Caravantes. However, another article published at ProFootballTalk.com says Lake's attorney, Marc Carlos, testified the following at his parole hearing-

"Mr. Bush - or through his associates - had made some type of agreement with Mr. Lake's group."

It is unclear whether the above allegation is a claim Bush had personally met with Lake and his associates, but it stands in contrast to Reyes' claim.

Someone's lying. Looks like HP sniffed that section of the story out pretty well. The truth about Bush's agent connection or lack thereof relies on his word and the word of Reyes against the testimony of Lake and his attorney, Mr. Carlos.

***
We still do not know what the rent payments amounted to between Bush's parents and Michaels. As stated on here before, that's where this story is headed, it's the smoking gun that will chart the future course of events because it appears more and more likely that Bush had no direct personal dealings with any agents or the New Era Sports & Entertainment folks.

The rest of the new AP release paints an ugly picture of the New Era trio of Michaels, Lake and Caravantes.

The Sycuan Casino, of which Michaels is the assistant tribal manager, strongly denounced Caravantes:

"He was trying to help a friend who got sent to prison, and made inaccurate statements about his businesses relationship with us," [Sycuan assistant tribal manager Adam] Day said. "We are going to have our attorney look at statement and transcript to see what actions we can potentially take."

That's legal speak for "you're a big fat liar!"

Looks like the Tribe wanted nothing to do with the bumbling trio:

"There was a request to become partners in this New Era Sports," said Day, "Both the tribal council and the development corporation board of directors refused to join into the business venture."

Here's why:

The Sycuan Tribe said it was approached last fall by tribal member Michael C. Michaels, who created New Era Sports & Entertainment LLC with his partner Lloyd Lake, a documented gang member now serving time in prison for a probation violation...

...Michaels, who is also known as Michael Pettiford, was linked to Lake in a lengthy 2002 FBI affidavit filed in support of arrest warrants for Lake and other accused San Diego gang members. FBI agent Allan Vitkosky that Lake's "close relationship" with Michaels allowed Lake to tap a $10,000 line of credit with a quick phone call when he was running low on money at the casino.

Lake, 32, of El Cajon has a felony record that stretches back more than a decade. Police records identified him as one of 73 documented members of a street gang, according to the 2002 warrant. Lake has arrests and convictions for gun- and drug-related charges, and he is currently serving 12 months in a federal prison in Victorville for beating up his girlfriend while on probation for a drug-related charge.

They sound like real winners.

Of course, one of them has his name on the deed to the home formerly occupied by the Griffin family, Bush's parents. As noted on my very first entry about this story, the NCAA relevant mistakes made here are likely traced to Bush's parents and Bush's parents alone-

However, Reggie Bush's parents are potentially guilty of greed and stupidity

I think accepting a new home from bumbling ex-cons qualifies as both greedy and stupid. Now all that matters is determining what, if anything, was exchanged for that home.

Reyes' opinion of the entire New Era operation is particularly damning:

David Reyes, a financial and tax consultant, said he met with Michaels and Lake before they began courting Bush, and let Caravantes use his La Jolla office. New Era Sports used Reyes' office address on a brochure.

"I know for a fact they never met with Reggie," said Reyes, who advises pro athletes on how they can help minimize taxes on signing bonuses.

"Quite honestly, I was concerned from the beginning with this whole deal with Reggie, as far as getting him," Reyes said. "Most people felt he was going to be a No. 1 pick, and he was going with more of a known entity."

Reyes also said he wasn't aware of Michaels and Lake having any marketing experience.

"This was all from scratch," Reyes said. "They didn't have the credentials."

Yikes.

***
All that matters: Did they pay/what did they pay/was it commensurate with fair market value for that home?

We'll see if today brings any new testimony or documentation about the home deal. Two days in and both Michaels and his tenants have been mum, although it has been reported that the Griffins say they are going to cooperate with any investigation. The delay does little to alleviate the impatient and the pitchfork/torch types who have their minds made up already.

***
What does all of this mean?

Well, it appears the New Era folks are bad dudes. Somehow, they made a connection not with Bush but with his father, mother, or both. The connection was strong enough to situate the Griffins in a new 3,000 square foot home in March or April of last year.

However, New Era wasn't New Era until October of last year. That leaves a 7-8 month gap where it's unclear what Michaels' interest was with the Griffins---if it was one related to the yet-unborn company or one of regular Tribal/casino affairs.

What we do know is that nobody has fingered Bush or USC for any impropriety. Despite petulant accusations from longtime critics, there's simply no proof as of now that USC or Bush was "cheating" or directly and knowingly involved in any impropriety.

NCAA bylaws allow for punishment of institutions that play ineligible player, whether they do it knowingly or unknowingly. So further investigation will determine Bush's amateur status and USC's culpability and level of punishment, if any.

USC's athletic department passed along investigative powers over to the Pac-10 conference, so it appears the NCAA does not yet have oversight [Update---per this LA Times piece, the NCAA has jumped into the investigation: "a Pacific 10 Conference official confirmed Tuesday that the NCAA has joined the conference in an investigation into Bush's connections with New Era"] and is probably awaiting any investigative findings by the Pac-10. Thing is, the Pac-10 has little investigative power other than to question USC about its knowledge of the situation.

When the public is made aware of the Bush's payment situation is likely the same time the Pac-10 will be made aware of it. That is assuming, of course, that the involved parties ever make the details known publicly and truthfully.

In other words, it's a big waiting game outside of whatever dirt is dug up by the various newspapers and yet unknown public offerings by Michaels or the Griffins.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (7)

I think you are missing the forest for the trees on this one.

You again minimize the seriousness of the growing body of information that points to potentially serious violations by Bush and family.

Call these guys "the bumbling trio," "real winners," bumbling ex-cons," "bad dudes," or whatever, but the fact remains that the Griffin, until leaving under suspicious circumstances (leaving one house without having a new one to go to), were living in a house owned by a shady character with ties to Indians, agents, criminals and casinos. No evidence of rent has been forthcoming.

Since this disclosure, a whole host of revelations have been made about the connections between Michaels, Lake, Caravantes, Reyes, Justice, the Griffin's family and potentially Reggie. Sure, it isn't clear, but you seem to choose to bury your head and spend an inordinate amount of time trying to justify discrediting the new information. You know, this could just as easily be the tip of the iceberg.

But you don't allow for that. You say that "[a]ll that matters" is whether the Griffins paid fair market rent. To hell it is.

There are many other questions, including, why was Mr. Griffin meeting with these characters and the Indians. What, if any contact, did Reggie have with any of these fellows (not to mention ex-teammate and fellow criminal Justice), etc., etc.

Despite what you say, there is all kinds of information that potentially leads back to Reggie's doorstep, both in terms of possible direct involvement and negligent failure to rein in his parents when he had good reason to know something was up.

I tend to agree that this is unlikely to end up on USC's doorstep as an issue of lack of institutional control, but this story seems to be just beginning. Its a time for questions, hard, non-biased questions, not excuses and what appear to be repeated attempts to make sense of terribly troubling facts by applying a glossy veneer.
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCocoman25
Cocoman,

The allegations have not changed. I see the forest from the trees because I continue to focus on the two main allegations:

1)Bush had hired the bumbling trio before his college eligibility was through---so far this is looking like a dead allegation

2)The Griffins improperly received that house---awaiting details

That is the story.

"Call these guys "the bumbling trio," "real winners," bumbling ex-cons," "bad dudes," or whatever, but the fact remains that the Griffin, until leaving under suspicious circumstances (leaving one house without having a new one to go to), were living in a house owned by a shady character with ties to Indians, agents, criminals and casinos. No evidence of rent has been forthcoming."

And I've documented all of that. You just wasted 20 seconds typing that.

"Since this disclosure, a whole host of revelations have been made about the connections between Michaels, Lake, Caravantes, Reyes, Justice, the Griffin's family and potentially Reggie. Sure, it isn't clear, but you seem to choose to bury your head and spend an inordinate amount of time trying to justify discrediting the new information. You know, this could just as easily be the tip of the iceberg."

Again, I've addressed those, how is that burying my head? I've done the complete opposite, in fact. I've brought those details to light in this space.

I'm discrediting the new information because it has so little to do with the two main allegations. It's filler and failed to provide a legitimate answer.

Alright, here's an example.

Pretend someone alleged Pete Carroll had robbed a bank. Now imagine several stories had come out about this, and people are discussing what was inside those stories. One says Carroll was hanging out with former bank robbers, one says he had an extra $100 in his wallent when questioned by police, etc.

All of thats tangential, but it fails to prove anything. That's my point. All the "new" revalations have done is muddy the water and caused some (ahem, BN) to completely lose focus.

"There are many other questions, including, why was Mr. Griffin meeting with these characters and the Indians. What, if any contact, did Reggie have with any of these fellows (not to mention ex-teammate and fellow criminal Justice), etc., etc."

I've addressed whether Bush had any contact with those guys. To this point the answer is no. That's my point, the facts are immediately before us, and right now they say no, yet you continue to say it's unknown.

Here's the thing---all of this stuff coming out is circumstantial evidence, and it's simply not going to fly with the NCAA or Pac-10. That's why I'm so narrowly focused on the direct, damning evidence about the house payment.

You guys are trying to publicly prosecute Bush and USC based on circumstantial evidence.

My standard, and the one the NCAA will follow and the one that will determine both parties' fates, is one of direct evidence.

That is why I dismiss most of the other details---they're immaterial because they fail to prove anything. They cast suspicion, but it was already cast on Sunday night when the Yahoo! Sports piece went public.

All BN has managed to do is grab more stuff to say hey, this is suspicious (which we already knew and nobody disputes), but suspicion is one thing actual guilt is another.

I've completely maintained my focus here whereas you guys haven't. It's like your thorough diary about Pete Carroll's history at USC. It's just more random information that contributes ZERO to the story---it muddies the waters and makes people lose focus.
April 26, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
It's something like day four of an ongoing investigation, one in which new facts are coming out almost hourly, and you are ready to rigidly recast the issues precisely as you'd like to in order to give yourself a pretext to ignore bad, ur, you say, "immaterial" facts.

That's convenient. Again, I'm a partisan. And, though you claim not to be, you are acting like one anyway.

I disagree with you that you've "documented" everything in this story. Maybe from your biased standpoint you think you have, but you haven't. What you've done is mockingly recount one limited, incomplete, version of the events (quoting from one article), full of snarky names for some of the individuals involved, and have concluded, in the early stages of this story, that nothing is amiss.

And how do you, or does anyone, know exactly what is relevant, and what isn't at this point? You seem to use this a proverbial blinders to avoid discussing uncomfortable issues.

I'm no journalist, but I thought the role entails some sort of intellectual curiousity about these kinds of things. I understand that you are taking a "wait and see" attitude, but you are also doing so while saying "let's wait and see because there's nothing to be worried about yet." It's almost like you are reading these stories, saying to yourself "Whew, that's not credible. Thank god, there's no documents to support that yet. Goodness gracious, I'm so glad noones found anymore connections there."

And your bank robbery analogy is silly. In any investigation, you start out trying to gather as much information as possible and then "connect the dots." Does the robber know the bank teller, is he a former employee, etc.? You don't discount things at the outset because you never know what will turn out to be significant down the road.

And, of course, this is a circumstantial case, as most are. Reggie isn't going to come out tomorrow and say, "Yes, in fact, I had my step dad negotiate a deal with these guys while I was in college." And, yes, believe it or not, improper/criminal behavior tends to be done by criminals, so its not reason enough to discredit everyone involved just because they have a shady past.

Listen, the story isn't over. If anything, it's gaining traction. You and I probably won't agree. But, I think you are minimizing the story, and trying to spin things. I could be wrong, but that's sure the way it looks.

And, by the way, I'm not part of any "you guys." And I'm not trying to publicly prosecute anyone. I'm just a UCLA fan who posts on blogs, am asking questions, and am interested to see how this goes.

And, finally, for what its worth, I was working on the diary to which you refer on BN before this story broke. If you think anything I wrote was inaccurate or unfair, please feel to post. I was trying to be objective, something I don't think you are.
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCocoman25
The new facts do not speak to a crime. They prove nothing. Thats my problem with them.

They're juicy, but they are evidential dead-ends---they fail to adequately connect the dots.

They may be useful after the fact, but then, they're after the fact and failed to prove anything in the first place.

Having a bottle of liquor in one's home is not proof of alcoholism, right? Hanging out with shady dudes is not proof of impropriety. You need something more otherwise you're unfairly sullying someone's reputation and failing to prove anything.

Right now this story is looking more and more like a wild goose chase unless either of the two parties talks.

"And, of course, this is a circumstantial case, as most are. Reggie isn't going to come out tomorrow and say, "Yes, in fact, I had my step dad negotiate a deal with these guys while I was in college."

No, it isn't. Either a violation occurred, or it didn't. Circumstance is not enough evidence to prove either way. You're grossly wrong in that assessment and it's completely affected your outlook on the very specific, narrow set of allegations and violations facing the Griffins, Bush, and USC.

Maurice Clarett made all kinds of wild accusations against Ohio State a few years back but none of them were ever proven. So he dragged the University through the mud without proving a single allegation.

Playing into accusations is reckless stuff---remember when I first posted about my apprehension in addressing the off-field stuff, and that is yet another reason why. I've seen enough of these stories to know that there's a process and people piling in only tends to create an atmosphere of hysteria and innuendo that take people far away from the more specific allegations.

Think about the Duke rape case. This thing has turned into this big deal about Durham, about race, about Town/Gown, rich vs. poor, the college lifestyle, etc. and NONE Of it matters, none of it speaks to the truth of what happened that night.

Instead, fresh divisions were ripped open because people lost focus on the crime. Was it worth it? Only to the people who seek division. The town is left having to pick up the pieces, however and the public is horribly divided about a crime that otherwise could have been more fairly prosecuted.
April 26, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
You say:

"No, it isn't. Either a violation occurred, or it didn't."

Maybe this is where we disagree. You seem to only care whether the NCAA will ultimately find that a violation occurred. I care about that do too, but I also care whether or not an NCAA violation occurred, regardless of whether justice is served (can't.... hold... back....OJ....joke....(sorry)), and also whether or not Reggie Bush and his family did something wrong (in the normative sense).

Also, I don't think you or I can possibly know yet whether the new facts (not sure precisely to what you refer) speak to a crime, a violation or other impropriety. Like I said, this story is just in its fourth day. I really don't know how you can definitively say, at this point, that the new information that has been unfolding are "evidential dead-ends." They may be. They may not. How the hell do you know?

Your second attempt at an analogy is also silly. Of course, you don't brand your neighbor an alcoholic because he has a bottle of liquor in his house. But those aren't the only kinds of facts we have here. You concede, as you must, that the Griffins were living in a house they don't own, which appears to be beyond their means, which Reggie probably knew about, which is owned by someone with an interest in exploiting Reggies' athletic success. Also, the Griffins moved quickly, noone in the Bush camp has provided any evidence of paying rent or made anything other than a blanket denial, Reggie has dodged a direct rent question posed by ESPN, various sworn statements outline some sort of play to sign Reggie to an agent, etc., etc. This, in my opinion, is more like seeing that same neighbor wandering around his front yard drunk every day, at the liquor store buying Thunderbird at 10 am, and, well, you get the point.

And, again, I'm not accusing Reggie of anything. I just think its a serious matter and shouldn't be swept under the rug, particularly at this point. You, on the other hand, are defending Reggie, accepting his vague public statements at face value, and I'm not sure why. Then again, I think I know why: you are a USC supporter and won't admit it.
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCocoman25
"Maybe this is where we disagree. You seem to only care whether the NCAA will ultimately find that a violation occurred. I care about that do too, but I also care whether or not an NCAA violation occurred, regardless of whether justice is served (can't.... hold... back....OJ....joke....(sorry)), and also whether or not Reggie Bush and his family did something wrong (in the normative sense)"

Well yes, because I'm an NCAA Football fan. My interest extends to how the story impacts USC in terms of possible NCAA and Pac-10 violations.

It's fine to be concerned about whether Bush and his family did something wrong in the normative sense, but there's been 0.000% evidence of that to date. Nobody's calling the city attorney general---that's plainly obvious from reading all the stories that have come out so far. In other words you're getting a bit Don Quijote chasing invisible windmills out there.

"Also, I don't think you or I can possibly know yet whether the new facts (not sure precisely to what you refer) speak to a crime, a violation or other impropriety"

Yes we can. Winston Justice hanging out in San Diego with the three amigos doesn't amount to a violation. Nobody is alleging he received any gifts, or alleging he signed with them. The court testimony alleges that they had reached an agreement with Bush or Justice, but yet no documentation was provided to that. It's hearsay, in other words (from a guy currently in prison, no less), and a dead-end.

Many of the remaining facts are the same way. Most of them are actually about the various misdeeds and botched efforts to create a marketing company of the three amigos, and nothing to do with the Griffins and Bush. They are irrelevant and unimportant to the very narrow issue of the possible NCAA amateurism violation.

"You concede, as you must, that the Griffins were living in a house they don't own, which appears to be beyond their means, which Reggie probably knew about, which is owned by someone with an interest in exploiting Reggies' athletic success. Also, the Griffins moved quickly, noone in the Bush camp has provided any evidence of paying rent or made anything other than a blanket denial, Reggie has dodged a direct rent question posed by ESPN, various sworn statements outline some sort of play to sign Reggie to an agent, etc., etc. This, in my opinion, is more like seeing that same neighbor wandering around his front yard drunk every day, at the liquor store buying Thunderbird at 10 am, and, well, you get the point."

And none of it is enough to PROVE a violation. Do you get my drift?

The only way we're going to know for sure if a violation happened is if specific details emerge about the house deal---as I've said over and over. The rest is just window dressing.

Nobody's sweeping this under the rug. It's all over my site, it's certainly all over BN, it's on HP, its on EDSBS, its on all the major news organizations.

However, at this point the story is going in circles because no NEW allegations have emerged. A story cannot escalate (as BN alleges) if there isn't a 1)new allegation or 2)proof of a violation. Escalation is a misnomer---this thing's stuck in neutral until the Griffins and Mr. Michaels explain publicly and with documentation their house deal.

"You, on the other hand, are defending Reggie, accepting his vague public statements at face value"

That's a lie. I've consistently called for the documents to explain this deal so people can actually make a fair and accurate judgment about the allegations. If I was defending Reggie I'd have said he's innocent. Instead, I've said we don't know, and furthermore we're not going to know until certain specific details become public.

"I think I know why: you are a USC supporter and won't admit it"

See, this is exactly what I'm talking about. A bold, wrong accusation (USC cheats!) but your proof is circumstantial. Furthermore, its a distraction from the matter at hand and does not speak to this violation.

April 26, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
I have run out of time today to respond to all of your points, but you seem to be missing mine.

Again, I repeat, I am not making any accusations. I am not trying to convict anyone of any crime. I do, however, think there is more than ample information, including new details that have just come out about other USC players potentially knowing that something was going on with Reggie, to justify the investigation and to continue asking tough questions (without providing your own biased answers). By the way, the Pac-10 and the NCAA seem to agree. I also think that you have been minimizing the issue, both in the substance and tone of your rhetoric.

Besides that, I only will address you calling me a liar:

"'You, on the other hand, are defending Reggie, accepting his vague public statements at face value'

That's a lie. I've consistently called for the documents to explain this deal so people can actually make a fair and accurate judgment about the allegations. If I was defending Reggie I'd have said he's innocent...."

First, you've said previously that "As Bush noted on the ESPN show yesterday, his family had been looking for a home for several months and had made the move time for this weekend when he purchased something for them."

You clearly were accepting that public statement at face value. You went on to speculate that Bush's statement was accurate for timing reasons.

Second, you've also said that "I am saying it's a strong likelihood he had NO involvement in the house deal. 20 year old busy college students do not broker home deals, sign leases, pay their parents' home rental costs, etc. He may have known, but probably had no direct involvement in the deal. I'll say it again, most of this story is about the Griffins and whatever they did."

That is called defending Reggie.

I'm no liar, and if you are going to resort to lame name-calling, one would think that you'd at least try to be accurate. I've tried to keep this civil, and this is what I get. (My own name-calling omitted.)

Also, you say:

"'I think I know why: you are a USC supporter and won't admit it'

See, this is exactly what I'm talking about. A bold, wrong accusation (USC cheats!) but your proof is circumstantial."

I've never said that USC "cheats." This is your own bullshit. If you read my posts, you'd know that I've just suggested that something fishy appears to have happened, and that tough questions are warrented (and that I didn't feel that you were asking them).
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCocoman25

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.