Los Angeles Lakers' center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar caused $20,000 damage to "a real nice, pleasant house" in Brentwood when he painted the bedroom floor green and stuccoed the den, his former landlady claimed Thursday in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Barbara Bergen, who lived in the Brentwood house for years before renting it to Abdul-Jabbar and his girlfriend, said it has cost her nearly $20,000 to repair the damage left by the basketball star's two-year stint as a tenant.
According to the lawsuit, Abdul-Jabbar and Cheryl Pistono painted the kitchen shutters blue, painted the shutters, walls and hardwood floor in the master bedroom green and then applied stucco-texture paint to the interior of the den.
By the time they moved out in March, several windows were cracked, closet doors were broken and the cable television cord in the maid's quarters had been "chewed upon by either animal or human," the lawsuit said.
"That's a very beautiful, expensive home, and you have child-like paintings on the walls and carving on the walls, apparently from their kid," said Bergen's attorney, Robert L. Baker of Pasadena. "If my kid did that, I'd break his hands."
Abdul-Jabbar moved into the $3,800-a-month home in June, 1984, after his own home in Bel-Air was gutted by fire.
His lawyer, John Gaims, scoffed at Bergen's assertions and said she simply wanted to make major improvements to the house at Abdul-Jabbar's expense.
"All I can tell you is it's a very typical and very minor dispute," he said. "The landlord upgrades everything tremendously and tries to charge it all to the tenant, alleging that damages were caused by the tenant.
"This kind of dispute would never make the newspapers," Gaims said, "except in this case, the tenant's name is very familiar to all of us."