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NFL's Morton Sues Agents Over Loans

The New York Giants' specialist says O.C.-based representatives haven't paid back $336,000.

July 08, 2006|Dave McKibben | Times Staff Writer

NFL player Chad Morton has alleged in a lawsuit that his former sports agent, Leigh Steinberg, and an associate defaulted on a series of loans totaling $336,000.

Morton, a New York Giants return specialist who starred at USC, alleged in a suit filed in Orange County Superior Court last week that Steinberg and David Kim promised several times over three years to pay him back but did not.

Steinberg, whose offices are in Newport Beach, said he was a minority partner in SLL Enterprises, a company run by Kim, and was initially unaware that Morton had loaned SLL money.

"I was not involved in the initial transaction, and I only later became aware that the transactions had occurred," said Steinberg, who represented Morton until earlier this year. "When I did, I attempted to assist Chad in unraveling the situation."

Kim agreed that Steinberg knew nothing about the loans and said he intended to repay Morton.

Kim said he ran the U.S. operations for SLL, which stands for Steinberg, Lee and Lou, with the same Newport Beach business address as Steinberg's sports agency, Tollner, Moon & Steinberg. Kim, who worked at Steinberg's sports agency until earlier this year, said he met Morton while working in USC's athletic department.

He said the loans from Morton were to fund a chain of sports and entertainment ventures throughout China. But Kim said the businesses never got off the ground.

In court papers, Morton alleged that he loaned Kim and Steinberg $300,000 in June 2003.

When the money was not paid back seven months later, Steinberg and Kim offered to repay Morton by giving him a 5% stake in the China business venture, according to the suit. Morton said he agreed but grew frustrated because he was never shown documentation, and he asked for his money back, according to documents.

In December 2004, Morton alleges, the defendants bounced a repayment check of $175,000.

A month later, a $240,000 check from Kim was returned marked for insufficient funds, according to the suit.

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