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NFL believes Bush was threatened by agent


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House flap won't fade as landlord also says RB’s parents failed to pay rent

NBCSports.com news services

Updated: 3:56 a.m. ET April 28, 2006

The NFL Players Association and NFL Security have concluded that sports agent David Caravantes and fledgling marketing company New Era Sports used an attorney to try and force USC running back Reggie Bush, the likely No. 1 pick in this weekend's NFL draft, to pay them $3.2 million after Bush decided not to sign with the group, ESPN reported on Thursday.

According to the report, Caravantes threatened to reveal embarrassing personal information about the Bush family if he did not receive the money and tried to evict the family from a San Diego house they rented from his business associate Michael Michaels.

The NFLPA claims in a disciplinary complaint written Thursday that Brian Watkins, an attorney allegedly representing Caravantes and New Era Sports, engaged in unlawful conduct by demanding payment in at least three letters.

Caravantes told ESPN late Thursday night that Watkins does not work for him. Caravantes also said he had no knowledge of any threats made against the Bush family, including eviction from the home. Caravantes denied being employed by New Era Sports and said he had no knowledge of a complaint filed with the NFLPA.

An attorney for the Bush family, would not comment on the NFLPA or NFL Security findings other than to say there was "comfort that two independent, third parties have reached the same conclusion we have."

The house rental is still the subject of an investigation by the NCAA and the Pac-10. Officials do not plan to interview Bush' family, which no longer lives there, until after this weekend's NFL draft.

Bush has denied any wrongdoing and told ESPN his "parents leased a house like any other parent."

Michaels told the San Diego Union-Tribune for its Friday edition that Bush's parents did not pay $54,000 in rent during the year after agreeing to pay $4,500 in monthly rent when they moved into the house. They didn’t pay for the first few months but promised to pay when the Heisman Trophy-winner started earning millions of dollars after turning pro, Michaels said.

Watkins sent the player’s parents an eviction notice on April 3, a copy of which he showed the Union-Tribune.

Bush’s parents, LaMar and Denise Griffin, moved out of the house last week.

Watkins said he plans to file a $3.2 million fraud lawsuit against Bush’s parents and possibly Bush. The sum includes $300,000 in “out-of-pocket” money that Michaels claims the family owes him and another investor, Lloyd Lake, plus punitive damages.

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Having gone to a rival school in the PAC 10, I can tell you that the cozy rental agreement is suspected as par-for-the-course when it come to USC and it's players...only when fallings-out occur does this stuff surface.

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