Bush, family sued by sports marketer for nearly $300,000 in cash, gifts

Updated: November 1, 2007, 8:56 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

SAN DIEGO -- A fledgling sports marketer has filed a lawsuit against former Southern California running back Reggie Bush and his parents that seeks to recoup nearly $300,000 in cash and gifts they allegedly accepted from him during Bush's sophomore and junior seasons.

The suit filed by Lloyd Lake on Tuesday in Superior Court claims Bush and his family received $291,600 in cash, living arrangements and other benefits between November 2004 and January 2006.

"We tried for over a year to resolve this amicably and Bush and his attorney didn't want to reach any resolution," said Lake's attorney, Brian E. Watkins. "They wanted the truth to come out. Now it's out."

NCAA investigators were scheduled to meet with Lake on Friday in San Diego, but the meeting was postponed until Tuesday, Watkins told The Los Angeles Times.

"We will answer their questions and provide them with documents and other evidence," Watkins said. "The lawsuit's out there. It spells it out. We've been putting the NCAA off for quite a while. We're going to agree to cooperate."

The suit comes nearly two years after allegations first surfaced and has prompted the NCAA and Pac-10 to launch their own investigation.

Bush's attorney, David Cornwell, did not immediately return a phone call or an e-mail seeking comment.

"At one time we asked for out-of-pocket costs," Watkins said. "They wouldn't even work with us at all."

Lake's lawsuit said Bush's family "had fallen on hard times financially and required immediate and significant financial assistance to support their respective lifestyles."

Lake and partner Michael Michaels have said they provided money to Bush's family as well as a home for which his family had failed to pay more than $50,000 in rent. The conflict was made public after Bush, now a New Orleans Saints running back, signed with another sports agent.

Bush, the Heisman Trophy winner as a junior in 2005, is in his second season with the Saints. He has said repeatedly that neither he nor his family did anything wrong in dealings with Michaels and Lake.

Michaels reached a settlement with Bush and his family last April.

Earlier this month, Yahoo! Sports reported that Lake planned to meet with NCAA investigators and turn over financial records and other evidence linking Bush and his family to the benefits. The Web site also reported it had acquired confidential e-mails from officers of New Era Sports & Entertainment, a marketing agency founded by Lake and Michaels, that shows the agency soliciting marketing and memorabilia deals on the running back's behalf.

If Bush is found to have received improper benefits, USC could be forced to forfeit games. The school could face other sanctions if it's proven that coaches knew or should have known about the alleged benefits.

Also, if Bush is found to have broken NCAA rules during his Heisman-winning season, the award could be revoked.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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