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Businessman responds to McKnight story

12/19/2009

The Santa Monica businessman who allegedly provided a 2006 Land Rover to USC running back Joe McKnight responded to the Los Angeles Times story this afternoon via e-mail.

Scott Schenter made a number of notable points:

1. He said he has no association with USC, noting that he is a Washington fan.

"I have never had USC season tickets or have never received tickets from any players or coaches from USC. I lost a bet from a girl from USC and have a "W" permanent tatto on my ankle because of it. "W" stands for Washington and the Washington Huskies are my passion."

2. He said he hasn't marketed or acted as an agent for athletes.

"These businesses are in the marketing business but I have nothing to do with agents, marketing players, or representing athletes. I have no experience in this business."

3. He said he's had a long-standing relationship with McKnight's girlfriend. Beltran and McKnight are the parents of a 10-month-old son.

"Johanna Michelle Beltran is a long time family friend and is an employee of Smart Bullets Inc. [one of his companies]"

4. He said the Land Rover in question belonged to Beltran even though it was in his name.

"I am the owner of the Land Rover because Michelle's parents couldn't qualify for the loan. It is her car. She makes the payments and she is responsible for insurance. The payments are a little over $500/month (not a big amount)."

5. As for his ownership of the Web site, www.4joemcknight.com, Schenter claims he's squatted on a number of similar Web site names.

"I also have uscmarketing.com, uclalove.com (where's the Kevin Love article), stanfordindians.com, 24kobe.com, airkobe.com, trumpcancer.com, shaqcancer.com, caltchbeavers.com, uscromeo.com, and for Scott Wolf, amandaflugrad.com."

So this is Chapter Two of this story.

The gist of Schenter's contentions is that if McKnight indeed was using this Land Rover -- McKnight denied driving the vehicle in the Times report -- he was merely borrowing his girlfriend's car. In other words, it didn't constitute an "extra benefit" provided by someone with professional interests in McKnight or someone representing or connected to USC.

Still, USC, the Pac-10 and NCAA will probably look into McKnight's relationships with Schenter. McKnight told the Times that he did not know him.

The first issue going forward will be whether McKnight will be allowed to play in the Emerald Bowl against Boston College on Dec. 26.

The second issue will be whether this will become more material for the Pac-10 and NCAA investigations into the USC football and basketball programs.