Landlord: Bush’s parents didn’t pay $54,000 in rent

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NEW YORK (AP) – The agent under investigation by the NFL Players Association for his role in the housing arrangement of Reggie Bush’s family says he has had nothing to do with the Southern California star.

David Caravantes told The Associated Press on Friday that he is unaware of the investigation, adding: “I have had no involvement with Reggie Bush. The truth will come out.”

Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFLPA, confirmed Friday that the probe of Caravantes has begun.

“I can’t comment on specifics of the investigation while it is going on, according to our organization’s regulations,” Upshaw said. “Until the process is completed, we can’t comment, other than the investigation is ongoing.

“Things like this are about the integrity of the game and our sport, and we have to make sure it is dealt with sufficiently. The number of agents has grown every year and it’s become increasingly difficult to keep a net over some of these (agents).”

The NFL, meanwhile, has alerted some teams about a potential extortion of Bush’s family after the Southern Cal running back didn’t sign with marketing company New Era Sports & Entertainment LLC tied to Caravantes.

“I wasn’t even aware of the money asked of the Bush family until yesterday,” Caravantes said. “They (New Era) recruited me.”

The NFL’s security department contacted several teams about the situation. Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, whose team has the first overall selection in Saturday’s draft and has said it will pick either Bush or North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams, said Thursday he was aware of the situation.

According to newspaper reports, Bush’s parents didn’t pay $54,000 in rent during the year they lived in the house owned by a sports marketing agency investor who wanted to represent the football star.

The landlord, Michael Michaels, said that Bush’s mother and stepfather agreed to pay $4,500 in monthly rent when they moved into the Spring Valley house he bought for $757,000 in March 2005, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Friday.

They didn’t pay for the first few months, but promised to pay when the Heisman Trophy-winner started earning millions of dollars after turning pro, said Michaels, who described himself as a real estate investor.

Michaels’ attorney, Brian Watkins, claimed Bush was made aware of the situation and also promised to repay the debt when he turned professional, according to a report in Friday’s Los Angeles Times.

Bush, who signed with agent Joel Segal, said he believes the matter will be cleared up in a few weeks.

There sure are a lot of side issues confronting Bush and his family these days.

Watkins sent the player’s parents an eviction notice on April 3, a copy of which he showed the Union-Tribune. Bush’s parents, LaMar and Denise Griffin, moved out of the house last week. Bush has said his parents left because they found another place to live.

Watkins said he plans to file a $3.2 million fraud lawsuit against Bush’s parents and possibly Bush. The sum includes $300,000 in money that Michaels claims he and another investor, a documented gang member named Lloyd Lake, put into the business, plus punitive damages.

Watkins and David Cornwell, the Bush family attorney, did not immediately return phone calls from The Associated Press late Thursday.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement Friday, “Based on the information presented by Reggie Bush’s attorney, our office has advised the attorney to consider referring these matters to law enforcement authorities.”

The NCAA is investigating whether the living arrangement violated rules prohibiting student-athletes and their families from receiving extra benefits from agents or their representatives.

Bush said he had spoken personally to USC coach Pete Carroll. Was Carroll comfortable with Bush’s explanation?

“I’d hope he is,” Bush said.

“I think he trusts me in my decisions and the type of person I am, and the decisions I make on and off the football field. I think it was important he heard it from my mouth.”

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