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Rodman's Newport Party Pad Closes Up

After eight years and many police run-ins, ex-NBA star sells home. Some neighbors rejoice.

June 11, 2004|Jeff Gottlieb | Times Staff Writer

The neon "Open" sign that blazed at party time has come down from the second-floor balcony.

Newport Beach's most boisterous celebrity resident, the one with the multiple body piercing, multiple tattoos and multiple hair colors, is leaving town.

Dennis Rodman -- who bought his pinkish-brown, two-story Seashore Drive home in 1996 for $825,000 -- put it on the market for $3.8 million and sold it for cash to an Arizona developer in two days, said Christopher Parr, his real estate agent.

The sale comes as Rodman, 43, is being sued for divorce by his third wife, Michelle, the mother of two of his children. The divorce case provides a view into the former NBA star's finances, which his attorney says in court papers "have deteriorated significantly."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday June 12, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 44 words Type of Material: Correction
Rodman's attorney -- An article in Friday's California section about former NBA star Dennis Rodman's pending divorce and the sale of his Newport Beach house included allegations made by his attorney, Gerald Phillips. The claims were made in court records, not in an interview.

Divorce drama aside, neighbors near Rodman's beachfront home are divided over his departure. Some say they'll relish the expected peace and quiet, while others say they'll miss the distinctive flair of his neighborliness.

Robert Marsh, 44, remembers preparing for a party and hanging tiki torches when Rodman, who didn't know him, stopped his Suburban, pulled out a case of beer, threw it into his yard and said, "Have a cool party, bro."

"I'm kind of going to miss him," Marsh said.

Rodman probably will not remain in Orange County, said Darren Prince, the athlete's agent, and is looking at Los Angeles and elsewhere in California, along with Dallas, where he grew up.

Rodman declined to comment.

Rodman's Newport Beach neighborhood mixes expensive single-family homes with summer-rental duplexes. Rodman's five-bedroom, 2 3/4-bathroom house has no frontyard. His patio, not much bigger than a couple of basketball backboards, opens onto the beach.

Parked in front of his garage this week was a white Mercedes S600, adorned on the hood and sides with purple flames and on the trunk with the moniker "Wormcedes," for his NBA nickname "The Worm." A parking ticket was tucked beneath a wiper blade.

This is nothing the neighborhood hasn't grown to expect. Rodman, after all, also has driven a Humvee painted with naked women and a F350 Ford pickup with a portrait of Rodman on the hood and an image of his tongue turning into flames as it stretched down the sides.

Neighbors are still talking about the time he made his entrance at his 40th birthday party by landing on the beach in a helicopter. Rodman later was charged with violating noise ordinances and paid the city $1,500.

And, of course, there were the many noisy parties that started at 2 a.m. and fights among men -- and women -- that spilled onto the street. Police say they were called to his home 80 times during his eight years there.

Only some of his antics took place at the house. There was the time authorities towed his 47-foot speedboat, Sexual Chocolate, after it was parked at another person's dock, and his arrest on suspicion of public drunkenness after being spotted driving the boat erratically.

Recently, however, things have calmed down at Rodman's house, neighbors said. This has coincided with his decision to stop drinking, Prince said. Rodman sees an alcohol counselor, the agent said, and uses Antabuse, a drug that causes nausea if he drinks.

"He's definitely cleaned up his act," said Jan Grumman, who lives down the street.

All the same, Jim Jacobs, who lives with his two teenage sons and a daughter across the street from the house Rodman sold, said he was not sorry to see him leave.

"We're tickled to death," he said. "If people say they're not happy to see him go, there's something wrong with them."

It's unclear if the sale of the house is connected to the divorce.

Michelle Rodman received a temporary restraining order in April that prevents her husband from coming within 100 yards of her. She said in court documents that in January 2003 Rodman punched her and that police were called 2 1/2 years earlier because he had threatened her.

Her husband "has a history of domestic violence, not only with me, but with many other women he has had relationships with," Michelle Rodman said in a court filing. "[His] hostile temper and aggressive behavior coupled with his drunkenness and large stature make me apprehensive he may cause me bodily injury any time he does not get his way."

Gerald Phillips, Rodman's attorney, disputed Michelle's claims and said that in one instance she was drunk and broke down the door to Rodman's bedroom.

According to divorce documents, Rodman's income last year was $570,000. He reported he will receive an additional $26,000 a month for the next three years from the sale of a company, apparently an excavation firm in Dallas.

Rodman said he had $10,000 cash, $1.45 million in stocks and bonds, and $3.4 million worth of property.

Rodman listed his monthly expenses at $36,663 on one document and $31,423 on another. Expenses include $5,000 a month in attorney fees, $15,000 a month to support children from another relationship and an $8,200 mortgage payment.

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