Archive for the ‘Legal Trouble’ Category

Lawrence Phillips: Same Song, Different Verse

August 12, 2009

Not to take anything away from fall camp today, but let’s hope that the saga that never seems to end finally does end – for awhile anyways.

On Tuesday, Lawrence Phillips was convicted of assault and other felony charges – a total of 7 counts to be exact. Those charges include assault with great bodily injury, corporal injury on a spouse or roommate, false imprisonment, making criminal threats and auto theft.

Phillips is currently serving a 10 year prison sentence for hitting three teenagers with his girlfriend’s car during a pick-up football game in L.A. He was sentenced for that crime in October of 2008.

So what will he be facing when he returns to court on September 8th? Only an additional 25 years which means that the California penal system could serve as Phillips’ temporary home until the year 2043. In other words, he will be out for the 50-year reunion of the 1995 National Championship team.

Thunder Collins Says No. I Say No. You Should Say No.

November 20, 2008


Thunder Collins, the former Husker running back charged with murder in Omaha, said Friday that he’s innocent and is confident that he’ll be acquitted.

Thunder Collins

“I was involved in a fistfight and other individuals started shooting, and a couple people got shot,” Collins said in his first interview since his arrest in September. “I didn’t have a firearm, and I didn’t shoot anybody.”

Collins also denied allegations that he had conspired with others to rob drug dealers and that such a plot had led to the shootings.

“I never seen no drugs at the scene or heard of any drugs,” Collins said. “I’ve never even seen kilos of cocaine in person in my life, only on ‘Scarface’ movies or something.”

…..Collins said allegations that he was involved in drugs “really kind of sat bad with me because I’m against cocaine, because, in my life, like with me growing up, crack cocaine really tore my family up. So I’m really against the whole cocaine situation.”

He said he has spoken to youth groups about avoiding drugs, so allegations that he would deal drugs make him “look like a hypocrite.”

“I came in the garage after I suspected some type of contraband was going on,” Collins said. He said he thought that something illegal like a gun sale was about to happen.

Inside the garage, someone was hammering on the SUV. Police say cocaine was hidden in a secret compartment in the rear fender.

Collins said he told the men, “If you’re doing anything that’s not right, don’t do it here.” He said that’s because he’s friends with Johnson’s family.

That led to the confrontation with Thomas, Collins said.

“He pushed me, and I hit him,” Collins said. “As we were fighting, shots were fired.”

I don’t even know where to begin here. Just as I was hoping that Thunder could save all of the Omaha youth from drugs, he goes and shoots someone. When he is not staring at kilos of cocaine while watching Scarface, Thunder can be found fighting crime in a garage near you. Give me a fucking break. Rule #1: When you are sitting in a jail cell in downtown Omaha on a felony drug charge, the last thing you do is talk to the media. Rule #2: When you talk about cocaine to the local media, claiming you have never even seen a kilo is kind of a big deal. It’s one thing to see a 8-ball or something, but a kilo? I’ll tell you this much though. I’d pay anything to see this guy give a lecture at an elementary school on the reasons why he is ‘against the whole cocaine situation.’ If Thunder can sell me on reasons I should not do drugs, then I can’t wait to see how he single handily takes down the state prosecutors.

Johnny the Jet to the Bank

November 17, 2008


Heisman Trophy winner Johnny “the Jet” Rodgers and his former business partner, an Omaha surgeon, have filed dueling lawsuits over what went wrong.

In a lawsuit filed in Douglas County District Court last week, Dr. Nirmal Raj says Rodgers contributed no money to Jets All Sports Bar & Grill, 3229 Harney St. He further alleges that Rodgers ran the restaurant into the ground, in part because the former Husker hired an incompetent manager. But in a lawsuit filed in September, Rodgers alleges that Raj refused to pay Rodgers and ruined the business by changing its format.

Raj wants $180,000 – half of the $360,000 in losses he says the business incurred – plus at least $34,000 for Rodgers’ share of mortgage payments.

Rodgers also wants $180,000 – the amount he says he’s owed for working “12 hours a day for 10 months,” getting the business ready for its short-lived run.

Jets never took off. Seven months into its existence – and after $360,000 in losses – Raj pulled the plug on the format and reopened the restaurant as the Attic Bar & Grill. Now, the doctor and the Heisman trophy winner both feel like they got stiff-armed. “I think he certainly feels that he was taken advantage of,” said Raj’s attorney, Ed Hotz. “What’s the old saying? ‘Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from a series of bad judgments.’ Well, Dr. Raj thought the best of everybody. Now, he feels taken.”

Rodgers, meanwhile, says Raj took advantage of Rodgers’ name and reputation – and pulled the plug too quickly on Jets. The business “was affiliated with the name, public image and goodwill of Rodgers,” Rodgers’ attorney, W. Craig Howell, wrote in the lawsuit. “As a result of the actions of Raj, Rodgers has lost value in the use of his name and the name ‘Jet.'”

According to the dueling lawsuits:

Raj said Rodgers and the building’s original owner, Judy Anding, came to him and asked for a loan of $40,000. Later, the two asked for additional funds. Raj said he agreed to provide more money in return for becoming a partner in the venture. Eventually, Anding sold her rights to the building. And eventually, Raj said, he put up more than $720,000. Rodgers “had no money to put up,” Hotz said. “He contributed his name.”

But Rodgers’ attorney says Rodgers contributed much more. Howell said Rodgers worked exhaustively while supervising the remodeling of the building and day-to-day operations of the restaurant. Rodgers says Raj told Rodgers he would be compensated for his work. Raj denies that. The Omaha doctor says Rodgers’ reward for his sweat equity was his share in the business’ profits – or losses. Raj said Rodgers also agreed to pay one-third of the mortgage – a point Rodgers disputes. Rodgers has not made any mortgage payments. Raj says Rodgers stopped speaking with him when Raj demanded that the business manager be fired in March. Rodgers denies that, saying Raj ruined a good thing before it had a chance.

Though Raj says the business was hemorrhaging money, Rodgers contends that the business brought in $10,000 in revenue per week. With development of condos and shops at the nearby Midtown Crossing, Jets was bound to succeed, Rodgers’ attorney said. “I think the evidence is going to show that the direction it was taking, it was on the right track,” Howell said. “Jets would have been a good spot.”

Hotz said Jets was a crash-and-burn disaster.

It ran up $360,000 in operating losses in about seven months. Hotz said that was because of a familiar failing of bars and restaurants: Too little supervision in the house and too much food and drink on the house.

“I’m sure this legal battle will add to Dr. Raj’s injuries,” Hotz said.

Howell said Raj’s allegations have damaged Rodgers’ name.

At one point, Raj’s lawsuit notes, the owners had to lower Rodgers’ ownership interest to 24 percent when the business couldn’t get a liquor license because of Rodgers’ felony conviction for robbing a Lincoln gas station in 1971. Under state law, felons cannot own more than a quarter of an establishment that serves liquor.

Rodgers addressed that fact during interviews before the bar opened late last year – lamenting the fact that his conviction was haunting him 37 years later. Rodgers graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1997 and often speaks to youths about staying out of trouble.

“I’ve got to be one of the most rehabilitated persons you can find,” he said last year. Rodgers’ attorney said Raj’s dismantling of the business has caused Rodgers to have to rehabilitate his image. Once in the 1980s and once in the 1990s, Rodgers’ Heisman Trophy was taken from him in disputes over debts Rodgers allegedly owed. Each time, he eventually got the trophy back.

That won’t happen in this case because Rodgers doesn’t owe anything, Howell said. “Johnny Rodgers has never done anything wrong towards any person in regards to this business. He put his heart and soul into it and hasn’t received a penny.”

Hotz said Raj is doing his best to recoup the 100 million pennies – or $1 million – he’s invested. He’s trying to make the best of it,” Hotz said. “He really wants to make a go of it.”

Dr. Raj deserves to pay Johnny every bit of that 180,000 that he is suing for. You (Dr. Raj) know you are fucked when when you have to file a countersuit to take Johnny Rodgers to court to recover just half of the half of the 720,000 dollars you invested out of the mere possibility that you can get anything from him at this point. It’s not Johnny’s fault that some arrogant, rich asshole tried to use his name to make money off a high-end sports bar at 32nd and Harney. What’s even worse is that Dr. Raj didn’t like the fact that Johnny was comping all food and drinks to the homeys that strolled in from the Jackson Towers. Honestly, what the hell do you think was going to happen? Did you really think all of the West Omaha soccer mom and dads were going to throw birthday parties or graduation parties there? The only birthday you are finding there is Tyrone Biggums’ crack party, and as Johnny would tell you, ‘come one, come all!

Lawrence Effin Phillips

October 7, 2008

(From CNNSI)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former football star Lawrence Phillips was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison, two years after he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.

The sentencing was repeatedly delayed while Phillips fought to withdraw a guilty plea in a domestic abuse case that could have led to a stiffer sentence.

Phillips was convicted in 2006 of seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

The 33-year-old former Nebraska running back has been jailed since August 2005, when he drove onto a field near Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and his car struck three boys, ages 14 and 15, and a 19-year-old man, who suffered cuts and bruises. The car narrowly missed three other people, prosecutor Todd Hicks said.

Phillips was allegedly upset after losing a pickup football game to the youths and accused them of stealing some of his possessions.

“When he gets angry and he feels disrespected, he acts out with blind rage,” Hicks said in a telephone interview after the sentencing.

In court, Phillips tearfully apologized to one of the victims.

“I’m sorry that your leg is messed up,” Phillips told Rodney Flores, after hearing the young man tell the court that he was unable to pursue his dream of playing high school sports as a result of being hit when he was 16.

“I’m sorry you have to come in here like this,” Phillips said, adding that he “wanted the chance to say I didn’t mean to hurt people.”

Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli said Phillips should have thought about what he did.

A call to Phillips’ attorney Leslie Ringold was not immediately returned.

Sentencing was delayed while Phillips tried to withdraw a 2000 guilty plea to hitting a woman he had been dating during a confrontation at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the prosecutor said.

The plea stands as a strike against Phillips under California’s “three-strikes” law, which mandates tougher sentences for repeat offenders.

Phillips contended he was coerced into pleading guilty to domestic abuse and making a criminal threat, resulting in a brief prison term and three years of probation.

His attempts to withdraw the plea are continuing, Hicks said.

The St. Louis Rams released Phillips for insubordination in 1997. He signed with the Miami Dolphins, but was later released. In 1999 in NFL Europe, he set league records for rushing and touchdowns with the Barcelona Dragons.

He signed with the San Francisco 49ers later that year, but was released for missing a practice. He also has played in the Canadian Football League.

Don’t amuse me anymore LP. I’m happy it will be at least five years before we have to read about you again. Ahman Green did everything and anything behind you. You were the best running back I’ve ever seen in person, but it will never take away the fact that you are a born again gangsta. With or without you, we still dominated the sports world. I’m sorry your leg is messed up to, bro’.

Thunder Collins Charged With Murder

September 24, 2008

From KETV news,

Former Nebraska running back Thunder Collins was arrested late Wednesday morning, almost 24-hours after one person was shot to death and a second person was wounded in a shooting near 70th Street and Military Avenue in Omaha. Police said Timothy Thomas was killed in the shooting. Thomas’ body was found in a house at 3902 N. 70th Circle. Marshall Turner was critically injured in a nearby shooting, police said. Turner was found in a parking lot of the Baymont Inn at 72nd and Grover streets. Police believe the two shootings are connected.

An arrest warrant issued Wednesday morning for Collins accused him of first-degree murder, and attempted second-degree murder. Collins also faces felony weapons charges. Earlier Wednesday, police arrested another man, Karnell Burton on suspicion of criminal homicide, attempted first-degree murder, and two weapons charges.

A third man, Ahmad W. Johnson, 21, was also named in the same arrest warrant. Johnson is now a suspect in connection with the shooting. Thunder Collins was part of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers football program during the 2000, and 2001 seasons. Since his departure, Collins has had several legal problems, and in 2002, he served 135 days in jail for failing to complete a diversion program following his arrest for domestic violence. Most recently, Collins reported the theft of $13,500 from a fundraising event in Lincoln in August, 2008. Lincoln police said Collins was a host of the event, but the money belonged to a theater, and the production company Owe Boy Productions.

This is terrible news for the victims’ families, Thunder Collins, and college football. It never ceases to amaze me how some athletes that are given every opportunity and resource in the world somehow never can be rehabilitated. It has to be frustrating for his mentors, coaches, teachers, and teammates who I am sure went above and beyond their job description to help this kid out in every way they could only to have him turn around and do shit like this.