Ex-Vik­ing Peter­son shows why pro­fes­sional ath­letes must be care­ful with their money

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Weather - BY LEE SCHAFER (Minneapoli­s) Star Tri­bune

From the mo­ment he ar­rived in Min­nesota 12 years ago, for­mer Vik­ings star Adrian Peter­son was spe­cial. At times he made whichever Na­tional Foot­ball League team lined up to stop him look like the ju­nior var­sity.

Peter­son was paid like he was spe­cial, too. No NFL run­ning back has made more for his play, reach­ing the neigh­bor­hood of $100 mil­lion.

That’s what makes his ap­par­ent in­abil­ity to make his loan pay­ments, as al­leged in a re­cent law­suit, such a cu­ri­ous story. Sadly, though, sto­ries of hand­somely paid pro­fes­sional ath­letes out­run­ning their money are not rare.

Reck­less spend­ing was a big part of “Broke,” a 2012 ESPN film on the fi­nan­cial prob­lems of re­tired pros. Peter­son fa­mously en­tered his 30th birth­day party rid­ing on the back of a camel. Not sure what one of those costs, but walk­ing in would have been free.

But when sto­ries of fi­nan­cial trou­ble sur­face, it’s fas­ci­nat­ing how of­ten the big is­sue is that one investment af­ter an­other has burned to the wa­ter­line.

I’ve been puz­zling over this for years, since meet­ing a cou­ple of fi­nan­cial ad­vis­ers to ath­letes who once dropped by the small investment bank in Minneapoli­s where I then worked.

They weren’t con­ven­tional investment ad­vis­ers who hap­pened to have money from a few ath­letes to man­age. The ath­letes’ money was their busi­ness. Lots of busi­nesses run on per­sonal re­la­tion­ships, of­ten by a re­fer­ral, and that was cer­tainly the case in this lit­tle niche.

They didn’t talk main­stream, in­sti­tu­tional no­tions of cap­i­tal preser­va­tion. Yet they sure liked talk­ing deals.

Some corporate ex­ecs and wealthy entreprene­urs seem to think a lit­tle like this, too, pil­ing into costly hedge funds and investing in star­tups in in­dus­tries they don’t know.

Like the ath­letes they en­joy be­ing taken through a pri­vate door, not the one used by the pub­lic. Stock mu­tual funds, mu­nic­i­pal bonds and real es­tate investment trusts aren’t meant for them.

You can see a lit­tle of this in the story of re­tired bas­ket­ball star Kevin Gar­nett. He’s the only Tim­ber­wolves player to ever be named the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion’s most valu­able player, and his ca­reer earn­ings swamped those of Adrian Peter­son.

The Gar­nett fi­nan­cial story has one wrin­kle, and that’s how he had once been a sup­porter of fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor Charles Au­gus­tus Banks IV in a high-pro­file crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ing.

It was only af­ter Banks got sen­tenced to four years in fed­eral prison for de­fraud­ing for­mer NBA star Tim Dun­can that Gar­nett re­al­ized he might have a prob­lem, too, as al­leged in a law­suit Gar­nett brought here against his Ken­tuck­y­based ac­coun­tants.

A San An­to­nio Ex­pressNews re­porter saw Dun­can say some­thing to Gar­nett on a break at a Banks court hear­ing.

Gar­nett claimed in his suit to be out $77 mil­lion, and the suit seems to have just been re­solved. Yet the com­plaint, along with other court doc­u­ments, pro­vide a lot of rich de­tails of how Banks al­legedly op­er­ated.

When Banks induced Tim Dun­can to put $7.5 mil­lion into some­thing called Game­day En­ter­tain­ment, Banks al­legedly grabbed a $225,000 fee plus started col­lect­ing 20% of the money due Dun­can in monthly pay­ments. He then got Dun­can to per­son­ally guar­an­tee a $6 mil­lion line of credit.

Adrian Peter­son

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