Real-Life ‘Jerry Maguire’ Facing Jail Over Debts?

Last week an Orange County (CA) court bench warrant was issued for the arrest of the man who helped to inspire the movie, “Jerry Maguire.

Leigh Steinberg Bench Arrest Warrant

(DON’T LOAN LEIGH THE MONEY!!)

In public documents available on the Orange County Superior Court’s official website, the Dec. 15, 2011, warrant (pdf) followed a Dec. 13, 2010, Orange County court order that former NFL agent Leigh Steinberg pay The Irvine Company $1,440,038.12 in back rent for office space Steinberg leased beginning in 2003. A lawyer for The Irvine Company, Brooke Brandt, noted the following in court documents filed on Dec. 9, 2011:

There have been numerous attempts to collect on said Judgment. Judgment Creditor’s counsel has never been able to directly connect with Judgment Debtor LEIGH STEINBERG at any of last known or suspected addresses to serve him. We retained a private investigator to perform a skip trace investigation to no avail.

More from Brandt on Steinberg’s alleged attempts to avoid paying the debt:

Judgment Creditor’s counsel made efforts to locate assets subject to simple execution, such as bank accounts in the name of Judgment Debtor. None have been located. Further investigation suggests that a sports management enterprise continues to freely operate. Calls connect to a recording stating “all circuits are busy.”

While it is unknown if STEINBERG & ASSOCIATES, LLC has accumulated significant hard assets, it appears likely that it now has a substantial income stream. LEIGH STEINBERG is a world-renowned sports and entertainment agent and continues to operate his business in Newport Beach under a different name.

Internet research reveals Debtor LEIGH STEINBERG was the inspiration as the sports agent in films such as “Jerry McGuire” (for which he had a cameo), and “Field of Dreams” and was an apparent consultant. He may receive residuals or fees from this involvement.

The Irvine Company legal counsel also noted that it appeared her client was not the only entity seeking repayment from Steinberg:

Public records disclose multiple judgments, tax liens, and other signs of distress as to Judgment Debtor STEINBERG. Therefore, Judgment Debtor STEINBERG now seems to keep a low public access profile with security protection around him that prevents process servers from gaining access to him. Accordingly, multiple prior attempts to serve a Debtors. Examination or other documents were unsuccessful.

STEINBERG lives the lavish life of a famous sports agent throwing lavish Super Bowl Parties for 25 years, this past one in Dallas where tickets sold for upwards of $3,500 a ticket for an excess of 2,500 guests, including expected guest former President George W. Bush. STEINBERG appears to present these parties wherein he uses the proceeds of his income with charitable donations with no application towards his countless judgments and debts; including the one at issue.

In essence, Judgment Debtor STEINBERG is a semi famous figure with huge apparent notoriety but shows signs of significant  recent deterioration. Public records disclose multiple judgments, tax liens, and other signs of distress. Judgment Debtor now seems to keep a low public access profile. While in the public eye, he can host a grand Super Bowl party, at apparent great expense, yet process servers cannot seem to make direct contact with him.

He appears to have a phalanx of security protection around him that prevents process servers from gaining access to him unless he allows it.

While Steinberg’s attempts to avoid repaying the aforementioned adjudicated debt may seem extreme, his method in avoiding forking over what he owes former NFL player Chad Morton is allegedly even more extensive.

In documents filed to an Orange County court on Sept. 9, 2010, Morton attorney Laura Sullivan alleged that Steinberg, his girlfriend and business associates had engaged in an elaborate conspiracy designed to shield assets from a $900,000 debt Steinberg owed Morton.

Chad Morton is suing Leigh Steinberg

The debt stemmed from Steinberg and associates’ failure to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans from Morton - which led to a $900,000 adjudicated settlement between the parties.

As part of the alleged scheme, Steinberg’s ex-executive assistant Ellen Goodman reported in November, 2009, under penalty of perjury to the court the following alleged activities by Steinberg and his cohorts:

I worked in this capacity from mid-2007 through August 2009. Previously, I had worked for LSSE and Steinberg in various capacities.

LSSE is a Nevada company that was created by Jeremiah Donati around December 2007.

LSSE holds itself out in the same way that Steinberg & Associates did: as a representation, marketing and consulting firm specializing in the careers of professional athletes, Olympians, coaches, and personalities.

LSSE is wholly owned by Leigh Steinberg. It carries on the same business as its Steinberg & Associates, LLC.

As Steinberg’s personal assistant and LSSE’s executive assistant (and as the executive assistant at LSSE’s predecessor Steinberg & Associates) I was responsible for virtually all administrative support of the business, as well as the personal support of Leigh Steinberg.

I was involved in virtually all aspects of LSSE’s and Steinberg’s financial affairs and managed LSSE’s and Steinberg’s banking affairs and accounts. I screened phone calls for Steinberg and directed calls to other top executives, including David Meltzer (LSSE’s current CEO and a lawyer I believe to be licensed in Florida) and Jeremiah Donati (general counsel).

I participated in this litigation, including responding to Chad Morton’s requests for the production of documents, and administering Morton’s attempted garnishments of the bank accounts of LSSE and Steinberg.

I was privy to LSSE’s and Steinberg’s discussions in responding to Morton’s judgment against them, including attending meetings with the executives of LSSE and Steinberg. After Morton’s judgment was entered in this case, there was routine discussion among David Meltzer, Jeremiah Donati, and myself regarding methods to shield income to LSSE and Steinberg from Morton’s collection efforts.

I administered Morton’s attempted garnishments of LSSE’s bank accounts with Wells Fargo in approximately April 2009.

After the garnishments were issued, I attended a meeting with LSSE’s banker to discuss options. After discussion with Meltzer, I agreed to open a new account on behalf of LSSE, but in my name only so that it would not be subject to any future garnishments in the name of LSSE or Steinberg (the new account).

I agreed to remove any reference to LSSE, Steinberg, or Steinberg’s social security number from the new account. I gave these instructions to LSSE’s banker at Wells Fargo.

I used the account and these checks on several occasions to pay LSSE’s and Steinberg’s expenses including health insurance premiums and child support payments to Steinberg’s former wife Lucy Steinberg. However, the primary purpose of the account was to receive money and shield it garnishment.

During my tenure as Steinberg’s personal assistant and LSSE’s executive assistant, the financial affairs of Steinberg and LSSE were totally intermingled. I routinely paid Steinberg’s personal expenses from LSSE’s accounts, including Steinberg’s rent, utilities, child support payments, car lease payments and insurance premiums, medical expenses, entertainment expenses, his credit card, and gifts.

In the past year or so, two large sums of money were obtained on behalf of  Steinberg and/or LSSE: an unsecured line of credit to Leigh Steinberg from San Diego Private Bank (SDPB), on which Steinberg withdrew a gross amount of approximately $400,000 and I believe approximately $300,000 through a New Jersey outfit known as Presidium Group of Companies (the Presidium transaction).

Both sources of income were actively shielded from Morton’s collection and were used to pay LSSE’s business expenses and Steinberg’s personal expenses.

Steinberg’s girlfriend, Amy Stoody, is a Newport Beach lawyer specializing in workers’ compensation matters. Around June of this year, I became aware that Stoody had opened a client trust account on behalf of Steinberg (the Stoody trust account). I understood that the purpose of the Stoody trust account was to shield income from Morton’s collection efforts, consistent with my earlier discussions with Meltzer that client trust accounts are not subject to  garnishment.

Clients who were generating income for LSSE at the time I left include boxer Chris Arreola (for whom LSSE handles marketing), coach June Jones, and columnist Thomas George (for whom LSSE negotiated a contract with nfl.com). 

Jeremiah Donati is a California lawyer as well as a certified athlete agent. It was widely discussed at LSSE that Steinberg allowed his own certification to lapse while he was being investigated by the National Football Players Association regarding his transactions with Chad Morton.

It was also widely discussed that Donati would receive his certification so LSSE would have a certified agent in Steinberg’s place.

During my tenure at LSSE, I incurred approximately $50,000 in personal debt and was ultimately repaid these charges by LSSE, with funds obtained through the Presidium transaction. I often agreed to use my personal credit card to pay business expenses of LSSE and Steinberg’s personal expenses.

I was terminated by LSSE in August 2009. After I left, I was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement providing that I would not discuss LSSE’s affairs. I declined to sign the agreement.

Morton is now suing Steinberg and associates for additional, punitive damages with a jury trial scheduled to begin on Feb. 21, 2012 in an Orange County court.

Leigh Steinberg Bench Arrest Warrant

In addition to his $1,440,038.12 debt to The Irvine Company and $900,000 currently owed Morton, according to Orange County court documents and records Steinberg reportedly owes:

  • Wells Fargo (2002 loan): $185,258.00
  • American Express (purchase balance): $43,516.00
  • IRS (tax lien): $17,384.00
  • State of California (tax lien): $10,464.00
  • Account Management Services: $7,924.25
  • The Irvine Company (back apartment rent) $3,051.97

Mercer County (NJ) court documents also indicate Steinberg owes the state of New Jersey $73,041.00 in back taxes.

Despite the ex-NFL agent’s distressed financial state, last January the LOS ANGELES TIMES reported that Steinberg hosted a high-profile Super Bowl party for the 25th straight NFL season - in a story titled, “Steinberg Still Host With Most.

Steinberg also isn’t letting a private investigator - tailing him on behalf of at least one creditor owed over $1.4 million - affect his insatiable need for the media spotlight. Just two weeks ago, presumably from an undisclosed location, Steinberg publicly lashed out at Arizona State after the school pulled a deal Steinberg was negotiating for then-prospective ASU football coach June Jones. (Jones remained at SMU.)

In fact, not even an active arrest warrant can prevent the man who inspired a major motion picture that defined his industry from keeping his weekly column for the COSTA MESA (CA) DAILY PILOT current.

Leigh Steinberg Bench Arrest Warrant

And to think all this time I never realized Cuba Gooding’s iconic line was actually, “Loan Leigh The Money!

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Steinberg Blames ‘Bizarre’ ASU For ‘Yanking’ Deal

In a statement to Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston today, Arizona State Chief Operating Officer Steve Patterson said that the school was no longer pursuing current SMU football coach June Jones for its own football coaching position.

Leigh Steinberg Blames ASU for pulling out of June Jones deal

Patterson: “June Jone is not going to be our coach. The process continues.

In response to Patterson’s announcement the agent of Jones, Leigh Steinberg, posted the following message on his official company blog:

“Just had one of the most bizarre endings to a set of productive discussions to bring a client to a new situation. Everything was set,few tweaks left,and the principal decision maker yanks the deal w no real explanation.”

In the aftermath of the announcements from both sides, multiple sources close to the negotiation told SbB today that the sticking point between the two parties was the $2 million buyout in Jones’ SMU contract.

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Lush Super Bowl Parties On The Chopping Block

In these rough economic times, nothing is sacred. Circuit City closed a bunch of stores before Black Friday, the stock market is tumbling harder than the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” lady, and cats & dogs are sleeping together just to cut their rent in half. But now we have the ultimate sign that our economy is in a deep depression: A whole bunch of Super Bowl parties are being canceled this year.

Owen Wilson at Playboy Party

(Owen Wilson is not pleased by the news. Or maybe he’s really pleased.
You can never tell with him.)

According to SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL, Super Bowl parties hosted by Sports Illustrated and talent agencies CAA and Octagon have already met their grisly end. Even more upsetting, the party plans for Playboy, one of the mainstays of the Super Bowl party scene for years, are said to be “up in the air”. And that, my friends, is not a good sign.

Luckily, there are a few EXTREME party organizers who are going full steam ahead with their festitivites, economy be damned!

Read more…

Not Again! Leigh Steinberg Popped For Booze

Leigh Steinberg was the original super agent. The man Tom Cruise modeled “Jerry Maguire” after. He also apparently has an acute problem with alcohol.

Leigh Steinberg

(Mini-bottles? Anyone?)

He’s twice been popped for DUI, in 1997 and 2007, pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges in both cases. Steinberg’s arrest in 2007 was particularly embarrassing, as his agent firm partner Warren Moon was popped for the same thing a week later.

And now the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER reports today that Steinberg, “was arrested last week on suspicion of being drunk in public.

As you might expect, the details of his arrest aren’t pretty. Read more…

Blog Jam: Berman Brings Up 222’s Again At Draft

• AOL FANHOUSE takes a chill pill, as Chris Berman makes reference to one of his YouTube videos during ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage.

Chris Berman Video On Drug Smuggling Tips

• Speaking of Boomer, THE LEGEND OF CECILIO GUANTE believes that the big guy’s absence in Day 2 of the Draft makes it easier viewing than Day 1.

• It’s RANDBALL’s turn to get to know the real Erin Andrews - in a two-part heart-to-heart, even!

• JOE SPORTS FAN catches Brady Quinn giving #2 pick Chris Long a Hummer.

Read more…

Space Age Technology Kills Montana’s Secret Life

Remember the report that Joe Montana bugged out after having his photo snapped at a Super Bowl party?

Joe Montana

Arash Markazi of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, in his breakdown of every single Super Bowl party, has this followup from the “Madden Bowl” party last week:

“Joe Montana, Dwight Clark and Chris Berman sitting in a VIP booth with a bevy of beauties surrounding them. Montana seem resigned to the possibility that images of his night on the town might end up online. “It seems like everyone has a camera on these,” he said picking up his cell phone. “You can’t do anything privately anymore.”

Don’t suppose Berman pal’d along with Montana and Clark for any particular reason, eh?

Heidi Montag

Markazi ranks all the parties (Maxim, Playboy, ESPN) and has some fun details, like Wade Phillips doing “Soulja Boy” in front of Jerry Jones, and a strange odor emanating from the Playboy party. Some highlights after the jump - along with Maxim party photos (and Heidi Montag’s alarming boob job).

Read more…

Warren Moon Arrested On DUI Suspicion (Again)

The SEATTLE TIMES reports today that “Warren Moon was arrested on suspicion of DUI and driving with a suspended license early Friday morning, according to the Medina (WA) Police Department.

Warren Moon

Moon was pulled over for driving with expired tags, and the attending police officer soon learned Moon’s driving privileges had been revoked in Washington as well. The license revocation apparently stems from a suspicion-of-DUI arrest in April (Moon was fined and given community service in that case).

Warren Moon

There’s no word if Moon blew over the legal limit this time. The Times notes “a report will be sent to the King County Prosecutor’s Office for possible charges.

What makes this arrest even more astonishing is the public humiliation Moon and Leigh Steinberg suffered earlier this year, when both were hit with DUI charges in the same week. Moon is a partner at the sports agency Tollner, Steinberg and Moon.