Famed sports agent declares bankruptcy

Leigh Steinberg, who writes a Daily Pilot column, says in a statement he has struggled with debts, alcoholism.

January 12, 2012|From staff reports

Newport Beach sports agent Leigh Steinberg, whose life story partially inspired "Jerry Maguire," has filed for bankruptcy, according to an email he sent to the Daily Pilot.

Steinberg, 62, pens a weekly sports column for the Pilot.

He said in his statement that media exposure that harmed his family and chased away clients led to him to seek Chapter 7 protections in federal bankruptcy court. He had been hoping to repay those who had given him loans. Steinberg used to represent a large roster of professional football and baseball players and boxers.

"I delayed taking this step for a number of years because of my moral and legal obligation to people who advanced me funds or performed services in good faith," he wrote. "But the constant and aggressive collection efforts and press initiatives undertaken by creditors have harassed my family and prevented me from working to be able to pay these debts.


"Prospective clients have been pushed away after receiving notice of my debts. It doesn't seem logical to prevent a person who owes you money from working in their chosen field by attempting to ruin his reputation, but that is what has happened. I have lived with this in recent years, and it is time to follow a more constructive path."

Much of the media exposure took place in December when an Orange County court commissioner authorized a bench warrant for him after he missed an appearance in civil court. But there was never a warrant out for his arrest because the party that was suing him for $1.4 million in back rent for a commercial space, the Irvine Co., declined to pay the fees for the warrant to be enforced.

Steinberg said at the time that bloggers, TV stations and other outlets misunderstood the issue and wrote inaccurate stories suggesting that he was on the lam. In fact, he said, his attorney advised him that there was no need for him to be in court that day.

"When a bench warrant for me relating to my debt was authorized last month, the portrait painted in the media was that a 'missed hearing' was the equivalent of my hiding or running from the law," he wrote. "That couldn't be further from the truth. I have been rebuilding a business that will be active in representation, consultation and content supply. We have a website, blog, Facebook and Twitter interactive efforts.

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