Friday, May 30, 2008
Report: Would-be agent says Bush not forthcoming
ESPN.com news services
The lawyers for Reggie Bush and a man who wanted to be Bush's agent -- and is now suing him for nearly $300,000 -- continue to squabble, this time over discovery questions in the lawsuit.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that attorneys for Lloyd Lake, who is suing Bush, said that Bush answered about nine of roughly 70 questions posed to him as part of the discovery process in the lawsuit. Bush's attorneys said the questions were objectionable, too vague or sought confidential information.
Lake has alleged that he paid about $300,000 in cash and goods to Bush's family while Bush was a student at USC. Lake had sought to represent Bush as an agent when he turned pro, and Lake and another man, Michael Michaels, said they were partners in a start-up sports marketing company along with Bush and his stepfather, LaMar Griffin.
Bush has denied the allegations in previous comments to the media.
Brian Watkins, who represents Lake, told the newspaper that Bush answered only basic questions, such as whether Bush's family lived in a house owned by Michaels, which they acknowledged. They did not, however, answer how much money they paid in rent to live in the house, or how much money Bush may have received from Michaels, Watkins told the Union-Tribune.
The answers to those questions would be of interest to the NCAA in determining whether Bush accepted improper benefits while a student at USC -- and whether the school should face NCAA discipline, or Bush, now with the New Orleans Saints, should be stripped of the 2005 Heisman Trophy.
Watkins said the reasons given for not answering the questions were that they weren't relevant, that they asked for confidential information or that they were too vague, according to the newspaper.
"They are doing whatever they can to avoid this," Watkins said, according to the report. "They're completely bogus objections."
But Pat Swan, an attorney for Bush, said a number of the questions were "very objectionable. So we preserved our clients' rights and raised objections. There has been no ruling on whether those objections are not appropriate," according to the report.
And another Bush attorney, David Cornwell, said Lake had also failed to turn over requested discovery materials on time last Friday, including documents and tapes Lake said he made of him talking with Bush's stepfather about money owed him, according to the report.
"Plaintiff did not produce any of the alleged tapes or any documents that establish he made any payments to anyone," Cornwell said in an e-mail, the Union-Tribune reported. "Plaintiff's discovery responses also indicate that he will continue to hide behind the Fifth Amendment."
Both sides met with Judge Joan M. Lewis on Thursday to set a June 9 date for Michaels to give a deposition. Both sides said they complained to Lewis about problems in obtaining discovery, and according to Swan, Lewis suggested each side bring a motion to compel discovery if the problems continued, according to the report.
Michaels, who previously alleged that Bush's family lived in a home he owned in 2005-06, settled with Bush out of court last year for around $300,000 and an agreement not to talk about the case, according to the newspaper.
Lake has already pledged to cooperate with the NCAA and has met with its investigators. He also talked at length to Don Yaeger and Jim Henry, the authors of "Tarnished Heisman," about benefits he has alleged Bush received while at USC. Yaeger and Henry acknowledged that Lake was "compensated in return for his full cooperation" in the book.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.