[UPDATED with Sports Agent's Reaction:] Leigh Steinberg, Who Inspired Jerry Maguire, Accused of Being a Deadbeat
When Steinberg did not show up, Orange County Superior Court Commissioner Jane D. Myers imposed the bench warrant, something Steinberg tells the AP he was unaware of.
"Since when in this country do you put people in jail for having debt?'' he reportedly said, adding the back rent involved a move to cheaper office digs in Irvine. "The point is, I had some financial struggles, which I regret. And I am working hard right now to pay the debts I owe.''
You had me at "since."
ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 21, 1:40 P.M.: A court issued a bench warrant last week for Leigh Steinberg, the Newport Beach super-sports agent and movie lover who helped inspire Tom Cruise's titular character in Jerry Maguire. Steinberg failed to appear at a hearing before Orange County Superior Court Commissioner Jane D. Myers regarding a mountain of unpaid rent he supposedly owes the Irvine Co., including more than $1.4 million for office space and $3,000 for an apartment. It's the legal equivalent of Don Bren shouting at Steinberg to "Show me the money!"
As part of the Irvine Co. case against Steinberg--whose clients have included Troy Aikman, Howie Long and Ben Roethlisberger--the developer has produced a list of others the agent is said to owe, including: former NFL player Chad Morton ($900,000) and Wells Fargo bank ($185,000) for unpaid loans; the IRS ($17,384) and California Franchise Tax Bureau ($10,464) for tax liens; and American Express ($43,000) and Account Management Services (nearly $8,000) for outstanding balances.
Here is the warrant:
Meanwhile, in its comprehensive coverage of Steinberg's debt mess, Sports by Brooks reports that the sports agent also owes the state of New Jersey $73,041.00 in back taxes.
According to the Irvine Co. attorneys, Steinberg is adept at hiding both his assets and himself from those he owes.
"There have been numerous attempts to collect on said Judgment," Brooke Brandt, the developer's lawyer, claims in court documents filed Dec. 9. "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."
Investigators have also found no bank accounts for Steinberg, claims Brandt, adding that while Steinberg & Associates still seems to be in business, calls to it are met with a recording stating, "All circuits are busy."
|Courtesy of Steinberg and Associates|
|Leigh Steinberg and the Sestito Bros. at Warner Bros. in August.|
Our post was on Steinberg--a former Newport Beach Film Festival financial backer and, in the interest of full disclosure, a movie reviewer for a newspaper arts section yours truly edited--signing his first entertainment clients, Italian filmmaker brothers Antony and Fulvio Sestito, at an August ceremony before cameras in Hollywood.
The Irvine Co. claims a "phalanx of security" around Steinberg prevents the developer's representatives from getting to the sports agent. Perhaps Donald Bren should get his investigators press credentials.