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THE 1996 NFL

This Guy is Trouble (On and Off Field) : Chargers' Mims Has Long Record of Financial and Legal Woes


SAN DIEGO — This was going to be a story about the Chargers' newfound reliance on good character, and defensive end Chris Mims' effort to meet those demands.

While Dallas and Pittsburgh went to the Super Bowl last season, in part on the play of Michael Irvin and Bam Morris, the Chargers went home early, disgusted and frustrated. No more disruptive influences, no more tolerance for extended night life and no more poor practice habits, the Charger brass said.

And so, running back Natrone Means, defensive end Leslie O'Neal and tight end Duane Young were asked to leave.

That left Mims, a 1992 first-round pick from Tennessee who played at Dorsey High and in junior college at Pierce, Harbor and Southwest. And that suggested an obvious conflict in the Chargers' new policy until the team insisted that their starting defensive end was a new man.

A good story--so many questions to ask--and then just like the Chris Mims of old, he went moody. He would not talk, leaving only his record to speak for itself:

--In the last four years, the Chargers have paid Mims more than $4 million in salary and bonuses, and according to his statements in court papers, he's broke and unable to pay his bills.

"You think it's hard to blow $4 million in four years?" asked Gene Simpson, a stockbroker for H.G. Edwards in Orange County. "I've seen a player go through $30,000 in six weeks at a Versateller. You try and restrict their spending and they fire you."

--Mims' salary has been garnisheed before and will be again starting Sept. 16, so he can make good on a bounced check of $28,526.65 to a car dealership.

--A writ of repossession was granted a few months ago for another car he bought after his first payment bounced.

--According to court documents, a hearing has been set next week in Superior Court in San Diego to give Mims an opportunity to answer a suit claiming he owes $191,000 on a home loan.

The suit claims he misrepresented his financial situation by failing to disclose a judgment against him for damages awarded in an assault-and-battery action and that he was in arrears in child support. The suit also claims that he represented his house being worth $700,000 when it was really worth $500,000.

--Mims pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of damaging a vehicle--in an altercation with Robert Michael--in exchange for having two other misdemeanor charges dropped and was fined $330 and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service.

Mims advised court officials that he had performed that service between Dec. 2, 1994, and April 15, 1995, at the Bates Resource Center, a favorite Charger charity.

Mims wasn't talking, so he could not be asked about Michael's claim that Mims reportedly was in Los Angeles at the time he was supposedly performing his public service.

"He did his hours," said Dick Lewis, the Chargers' security officer, who urges players to assist the Bates Center.

--Michael's windshield was smashed by Mims, and Michael settled a lawsuit with Mims, who agreed to pay him $45,000. After Mims bounced a check and failed to make payment, Michael returned to court and later received his money.

--Three times Mims was hit with claims in court for state taxes amounting to more than $112,000.

--There were small-claims court lawsuits in recent years for $873, $960, $5,000, $941.35, $10,276.71, $10,328.32 and $11,672.72 in cases ranging from not paying people who cleaned his house to not paying for purchased bedroom furniture.

--Last week Vic Hanhan, the owner of a deli down the street from San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, said he was taking Mims to small-claims court for $596 in liquor bills. An attempt to serve those papers will be made in the next few days.

"When they shot the first round, eliminating all the troublemakers, boom, it should have been Chris Mims," Hanhan said.

--A collection agency filed a fraud case against Mims in June for depositing four checks of $4,000 each on accounts with insufficient funds or closed accounts. The agency wants more than $9,000 in funds, interest and attorney fees.

--Mims' four-year, $48,000 commitment to the Los Angeles Prep Senior Bowl ceased after falling $4,000 short his second year and failing to provide any financial help the third year. The game had to be canceled and has not returned.

"I was tempted to go to small-claims court, but the whole thing was done in mutual generosity, so I didn't," said Jerry Weiner, director of the game. "This game is no longer being played and it bothers the hell out of me. He could have made such a difference for these kids."

--Besides actions filed to win evictions on apartments leased by Mims for relatives, he lost his $243,750 home in foreclosure.

--If Mims had talked, he could have confirmed or denied the story about the night he was arrested for urinating in public. The way it goes now, he called a friend from jail and had him drive Mims' new car to bail him out. On the way, the friend wrecked the car.

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