Friday, April 3, 2009
Rip offers details on missing million
ESPN.com news services
Richard Hamilton says he is pursuing legal action against the former Connecticut men's basketball team manager who is embroiled in an alleged recruiting scandal at the university.
Hamilton, a star swingman at UConn in the 1990s, did not offer specifics of charges in his interview this week with the Hartford Courant. The veteran Detroit Piston contends that Josh Nochimson stole as much as $1 million from him beginning in 2003 or 2004 and ending in 2008 through unauthorized use of an American Express card.
"There's a whole lot of legal action going on," Hamilton told the Associated Press on Wednesday in Cleveland. "There's a big investigation. We're in the process of legal action."
Hamilton did not elaborate on what kind of legal action he is taking against Nochimson. The Associated Press could find not find a record of a lawsuit or criminal charges being filed.
Nochimson was a student manager at UConn who later followed Hamilton to the NBA as his personal assistant and then became the star player's business manager.
"It's crazy because when I left for the NBA, he was coming with me just to learn the business, learn how to be a manager for athletes or whatever," Hamilton told the Courant. "I didn't pay him anything. I was like, 'OK, you can come along.' It was like an internship and that was it ... and I saw how good he was at being a manager, helping me around the house, getting my stuff together, making sure ... you know, he was like my personal assistant.
"I saw how good he was and then I started compensating him to be that."
It wasn't until later that Hamilton said he noticed Nochimson was using his credit card in unauthorized ways.
"The only thing he had access to, but he really didn't have access to, was my American Express card, which I just use to pay my bills," Hamilton told the Courant. "So, really, I never looked over it. I knew every month ... I knew my phone bills, my utilities and all the stuff I could pay on my American Express. I didn't use it for anything else, so there was really no need for me to check it.
"When I checked my American Express bill, they wouldn't let me into my account because my security information didn't add up to what they had on file. He changed everything ... just changed it. So my American Express account was like his, you know what I'm saying? It was crazy. ... We've been on it; as soon as we found out we've been on it. When I looked at all my statements and stuff, he was doing it since like 2003-04 to '08."
Unbeknowst to Hamilton, Nochimson eventually became certified as a professional sports agent. According to a Yahoo! Sports report last month, Nochimson provided lodging, transportation, restaurant meals and representation to 6-foot-7 UConn recruit Nate Miles between 2006 and 2008.
Miles, now a student at the College of Southern Idaho, was expelled from UConn last fall after allegedly violating a restraining order. He never played a game for coach Jim Calhoun.
Nochimson has not been available for comment since Yahoo! broke the story on March 25. When reached by the Courant, Nochimson's lawyer, Matthew Leitman, said, "I'm not inclined to comment on this situation at this time."
The NCAA enforcement staff has begun an investigation into alleged violations at UConn, a source with direct knowledge of the process told ESPN.com.
Hamilton said he's never met Miles and wouldn't discuss the alleged violations that have dogged UConn during this postseason. The Huskies are in the Final Four and play Michigan State on Saturday night.
"Somebody did ask me if I thought Josh was using my money to fund [Miles] or whatever. I don't know," Hamilton told the Courant. "The only thing I know is what he stole from me. Josh was very secretive."
Hamilton told the AP that he has discussed the situation with UConn coach Jim Calhoun, but did not elaborate.
"It's sad, but you trust people and they take advantage," Hamilton said. "You always have to have somebody watching everybody."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.