Ex-landlord, would-be agent won't sue Bush, family

Updated: April 14, 2007, 9:05 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Reggie Bush's would-be agent and former landlord to Bush's parents has settled with the New Orleans Saints star and his family, according to media reports.

The San Diego Union-Tribune and Yahoo Sports reported Friday that Michael Michaels, who had threatened to sue, had settled with Bush and his family. Yahoo reported that according to sources, the settlement was worth between $200,000 and $300,000.

Michaels has alleged that Bush's parents lived rent-free in his San Diego-area house for a year while Bush was playing at USC. He has said the arrangement came with an understanding that Bush would be the key figure in New Era Sports & Entertainment, a fledgling marketing agency co-founded by Michaels and Lloyd Lake.

Bush instead signed with marketing agent Mike Ornstein and agent Joel Segal. Michaels and Lake claimed to be out $300,000, including $100,000 in cash disbursements to the Bush family, and threatened to sue.

Michaels has now decided not to pursue legal action.

"I was instructed not to proceed," Michaels' attorney, Jordan Cohen, told The Associated Press on Friday. "I'm not commenting any further."

The allegations raised questions about whether Bush had violated NCAA rules by accepting improper benefits while playing at USC. A finding that he had done so could lead to USC forfeiting games and put Bush's Heisman Trophy in jeopardy.

Bush's attorney, David Cornwell, could not be reached for comment, according to multiple media outlets reporting the story.

Lake's attorney, Brian Watkins, has said for a year that he planned to sue Bush. He said Friday that he hasn't done so yet because of "a variety of factors."

The NCAA has been investigating the possibility that Bush received improper benefits while at USC.

The NCAA and the Pacific 10 Conference are continuing their probe despite the settlement, officials of both organizations told the Los Angeles Times.

"This has not gone away by any means," Ron Barker, the Pac-10's associate commissioner of governance and enforcement, told the Times.

Furthermore, Bob DeMartino, a New Jersey memorabilia dealer, told the Times he had recently spoken with NCAA investigators. "I don't think it's going to die out, based on my conversation with the NCAA," he said. Last year, DeMartino told Yahoo Sports that Bush and his family had received cash and benefits from Ornstein while Bush was still at USC.

But Yahoo reported that according to two sources, Michaels' settlement with Bush includes a confidentiality clause which will prevent Michaels from talking with the NCAA.

In a statement from Rachel Newman Baker, the NCAA director of agent, gambling and amateurism activities, the NCAA acknowledged it was aware of the settlement between the Bush family and Michaels.

"We continue our efforts to obtain cooperation from those involved with the case, including Reggie Bush and his family," Baker said in the statement. "Hopefully, the settlement agreement will encourage individuals who previously refused to cooperate due to concerns about potential litigation to now come forward with information that may assist with our ongoing investigation."