IRVINE (CBS) — Legendary sports agent Leigh Steinberg insists reports he’s about to be arrested for failing to appear in court or pay a $1.4 million debt are all part of one big mix-up.
Steinberg was at one time a successful sports agent who inspired Tom Cruise’s character in the film, “Jerry Maguire.” Today Orange County Superior Court records show multiple judgments against the former agent for unpaid debts.
The Irvine Company, a private real estate group, is suing Steinberg for $1.4 million in unpaid office rent. It was a hearing in that case scheduled earlier this month that Steinberg no-showed, prompting the court commissioner to issue a bench warrant.
Steinberg claims his attorney told him he did not have to appear at the hearing. “I just made the assumption that it was taken care of,” says Steinberg.
The agent does not dispute that he owes the rent money for the office he vacated two years ago. He says he took time off to write a couple of books, and the debts piled up. “I didn’t realize that they were pursuing me until after they had already gotten a default judgment,” says Steinberg.
The Irvine Company’s attorneys told the court that process servers were unable to make direct contact with Steinberg. He calls the claim ridiculous.
“I have five thousand friends on Facebook, Twitter, I speak all over,” says Steinberg. “I’ve been accessible and available to anyone who wants to reach me.”
Steinberg says he is doing his best to take responsibility for his debts, and his attorneys are actively negotiating toward a settlement.
“Have I lived a mistake-free, perfect life? No,” Steinberg says. “But I’ve tried the best I could, especially in my public moments, to inspire.”
The agent has recently moved into new office space and says he plans to rebuild his business.