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Simpson Jury Award Still Outstanding

Families of the two victims again try in court to get the former football star to pay the multimillion-dollar judgment.

November 24, 2004|Wendy Thermos | Times Staff Writer

Seven years after they won a civil lawsuit, relatives of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman have collected almost none of the $33.5 million in damages awarded.

In Santa Monica Superior Court Tuesday, Goldman family attorneys tried again to make O.J. Simpson pay. What they got were two press credentials issued to the football Hall of Famer to cover the 1984 Olympics for a TV network -- value unknown.

After Simpson was acquitted in a criminal case of killing his ex-wife and her friend Goldman in 1994, a civil jury found him liable for their deaths. But the families have received only a fraction of the multimillion-dollar judgment.

The credentials promised Tuesday belong to Simpson but were being held by a longtime friend, Burbank resident Alfred Beardsley, who underwent about 30 minutes of closed-door questioning about what he knows of Simpson's assets.

Attorney Peter Csato subpoenaed Beardsley in hopes of learning whether Simpson is hiding income from autograph signings or similar events.

And the press credentials probably won't add much to the small amount already collected. When asked their value, Beardsley shrugged and replied: "I have no clue."

Meanwhile, Simpson, on his way to play golf, said in a television interview Tuesday that he has no intention of paying the families a penny. "I've said this so many times.... If I have to work to pay them, I won't work,' " Simpson told WSVN-TV in Miami. "It's that simple. So, I'll just play golf every day."

The Heisman Trophy winner and pro football great is living in Florida on $25,000 monthly income that is exempt from court judgments.

In February 1999, a court-ordered auction of Simpson memorabilia fetched about $430,000 that was to go toward paying the civil judgment.

Only "a fraction," however, actually went to the families, said Michael Brewer, the attorney for Ron Goldman's mother, Sharon Rufo. The rest paid the costs of the auction and attorneys, he said.

Items sold included Simpson's Heisman Trophy, which brought $255,500; a Hall of Fame award ($11,500); two Tiffany-style lamps ($8,050 each); a painting of a girl given to Simpson by singer Donna Summer ($6,325) and a fox fur coat ($633).

The court inventory of possessions ordered seized from Simpson's Brentwood home listed a $40,000 gold necklace with 89 diamonds, a $26,500 full-length fur coat, a $16,297 collection of Italian silverware, golf clubs, artwork and other items.

Beardsley, who said he makes his living "in real estate," told Judge Gerald Rosenberg that he was holding the press cards in an out-of-state safe-deposit box, and agreed to turn them over to the Los Angeles County sheriff by Dec. 14.

Brewer said outside of court, "Mr. Simpson did a very effective job of protecting his assets. It's my belief that he hasn't been fully candid."

Csato, who represents Goldman's father, Fred, said Beardsley's testimony revealed "the location of some other properties" of Simpson's that might be valuable, but the attorney declined to give details.

Another issue involved autograph signings.

Beardsley had planned and then canceled a Los Angeles-area autograph session for Simpson. Outside of court, he wouldn't say why the October event was canceled. "I don't think it's a fuss over press credentials," he said. "I think it's over [autograph] signings."

Brewer said autograph sessions such as the one planned by Beardsley "could be fairly lucrative."


Associated Press contributed to this report.

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