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Dennis Rodman could face jail over child and spousal support

The former basketball star known for his flamboyance owes more than $800,000, but his attorney says he's broke. His financial advisor says Rodman is an alcoholic and that affects his ability to get work.

March 28, 2012|By Lauren Williams and Mike Anton, Los Angeles Times
  • Former NBA star and Newport Beach resident Dennis Rodman leaves the Lamoreaux Justice Center in Orange.
Former NBA star and Newport Beach resident Dennis Rodman leaves the Lamoreaux… (Steven Georges, Daily Pilot )

Dennis Rodman is in desperate need of a rebound.

An Orange County court commissioner Tuesday told the NBA Hall of Famer he faces a possible 20-day jail stint for contempt of court unless he comes up with $860,376 in child and spousal support he owes his ex-wife by May 29, though it's likely he could get community service time instead.

Either way, Rodman's attorney and his financial advisor say, their client's broke.

"In all honesty, Dennis, although a very sweet person, is an alcoholic," said Peggy Williams, his financial advisor. "His sickness impacts his ability to get work."

Rodman, 50, known for rebounding and defense during 14 years in the NBA, wouldn't be the first former professional athlete to lose a fortune. But he is probably the only one to have also worn a wedding dress to promote a book, dated Madonna, married Carmen Electra and been a competitor on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice."

Rodman's wild ways are well known in Orange County, where he has lived off and on since the 1990s.

His former oceanfront home in Newport Beach could have been mistaken for a police substation. The police were called there 80 times, mostly to quell raucous parties. Rodman arrived for his 40th birthday party by helicopter — which landed illegally on the beach.

His 47-foot speedboat, Sexual Chocolate, was towed when he docked it at another person's slip in Newport Harbor. He plied Balboa Peninsula's narrow streets in a Humvee adorned with a painting of a naked woman and a Ford 350 pickup with a self-portrait on the hood.

When his third wife, Michelle Rodman, sued him for divorce in 2004, Rodman sold the beach pad. At the time, he listed his previous year's income as $570,000. He said he had $3.4 million in property and $1.45 million in stocks and bonds. But, he said, maintaining his hard-charging lifestyle cost him more than $31,000 a month.

The couple have spent several years trying to reconcile, but the marriage was dissolved a few weeks ago after his wife petitioned the court again.

"This case, especially his wife filling for divorce, has put him on a binge that I have never seen before," Williams said. Rodman, she said, no longer has a job, savings or even a checking account.

Along with the occasional arrest, a rainbow of ever-changing hair colors and the tens of thousands of dollars dropped in strip clubs, Rodman also has tax issues. He withdrew his NBA pension for pennies on the dollar to pay taxes owed to California and still owes $350,000 in back taxes, according to Orange County court documents, though his lawyers say it should be substantially less.

Still, when he was inducted last year into the NBA Hall of Fame, media reports characterized the former rebounding and defensive specialist as earning a good living through endorsements, promotional campaigns, licensing deals and as a high-end deejay.

"Before the Hall of Fame called, we were reaching out for projects for Dennis," his marketing agent told the New York Times reporter. "Now our phones are ringing. There's been a huge spike in business opportunities."

Rodman won three NBA championships with the Bulls in the late1990s and also played with the Lakers, albeit briefly.

He referred to Michelle as his "wife" during the hearing and said the two get along and had dined with their two children at an Outback Steakhouse on Monday evening.

Rodman, who lives in Miami, said their dispute has "never been a hate thing. We're not like that." He added that the two were "just trying to get it done."

When court broke for lunch, they huddled to make lunch plans.

lauren.williams@latimes.com

mike.anton@latimes.com

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