Follow the trail of benefits Reggie Bush and his family appear to have received – back to October 2004.By Yahoo! Sports September 14, 2006
September 2004: Reggie Bush's stepfather, LaMar Griffin, allegedly approaches family friend Lloyd Lake about partnering in a sports and entertainment agency. According to sources, Griffin suggests that Bush will be the agency's anchor client and that the agency may also partner with the Sycuan Indian tribe in the venture.
October 2004: Griffin and Lake approach a third man – Sycuan business development officer Michael Michaels – in his luxury suite in Qualcomm Stadium after a San Diego Chargers football game. It is suggested to Michaels that he, Lake and Griffin could be partners in the agency, along with the Sycuan Tribe.
November 2004: Michaels becomes the primary financial backer of the agency, which would become known as New Era Sports & Entertainment. At this point, Michaels allegedly pays off $28,000 in debt for Bush's parents so they can "focus" on forming the agency. New Era representatives claim that the Griffins were holding the USC star's commitment to sign with New Era Sports as leverage to get the debts paid.
Jan. 4, 2005: USC routs Oklahoma 55-19 to win the national championship. Bush racks up 149 total yards in rushing, receiving and returning kicks.
March 4, 2005: While in San Diego for a birthday party for St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk, Bush checks into a suite at the posh Manchester Grand Hyatt paid for on Michaels' credit card. Bush's two-day stay at the resort totaled $1,574.86.
March 11, 2005: Bush arrives at the Venetian Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and checks into a suite paid with Michaels' credit card. His two-day stay at the resort totaled $623.63.
March 29, 2005: Michaels purchases a 3,002-square foot home in Spring Valley, Calif., for $757,500.
April 2005: The Bush family runs into financial problems with their residence, so Michaels allows Bush's mother, stepfather and younger brother to move into his Spring Valley home.
Spring 2005: Sources say New Era Sports pays Bush almost $13,000 to buy a pristine black-on-black 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS in Los Angeles. Sources say the car is subsequently outfitted with chrome rims and a stereo.
Summer 2005: After allegedly failing to pay the first several months of rent in the Spring Valley home, Bush's parents tell Michaels that they intend to eventually purchase the property using their share of profits from New Era Sports. They say the payment will come once Bush declares for the draft and signs with the firm. Around this time, Bush begins an internship with Reebok consultant Mike Ornstein.
September 2005: Lake and Michaels visit Bush in the USC locker room following a game. It is the first of at least two locker room visits by the New Era representatives.
Early October 2005: Lake approaches San Diego-based agent David Caravantes about possibly negotiating Bush's playing contract once he jumps to the NFL. Lake offers to get Caravantes in front of Bush's family for an interview in the coming months. Caravantes subsequently agrees to join New Era if the firm lands Bush as a client.
Mid-October 2005: Lake, Michaels and Griffin approach the governing council for the Sycuan Indians to make a presentation in hopes of forming a partnership in a new sports agency featuring Bush as a client. Sources say Griffin wore a replica of his stepson's No. 5 USC jersey during the presentation. The Sycuan Tribe ultimately chooses to pass on the prospective partnership, leaving Lake, Michaels and Griffin to create the agency on their own.
November 2005: Ornstein, who had given Bush an internship in his office the previous summer, becomes an adviser for the Bush family as it seeks to interview prospective agents.
Nov. 23, 2005: Corporate papers are filed to form New Era Sports & Entertainment.
Dec. 2, 2005: Griffin shows a brochure for New Era Sports & Entertainment to a reporter from the San Diego Union-Tribune and describes it as "a new company opening – they sent me a brochure, they're here in San Diego." At this point, the Bush family had been living in the home owned by Michaels for nine months.
Dec. 10, 2005: One day before the Heisman Trophy ceremony, Ornstein allegedly borrows $500 in cash from New Jersey sports memorabilia dealer Bob DeMartino in order to make a payment in excess of $1,500 to Bush's family. DeMartino said Ornstein told him that he paid for suits worn by Bush's stepfather and younger brother at the Heisman ceremony. Ornstein also allegedly paid for a makeover for Bush's mother and a limousine to escort the family around New York City.
Dec. 11, 2005: Bush wins the Heisman Trophy, with only O.J. Simpson receiving more first-place votes in the award's history.
Late December, 2005: The relationship between New Era representatives and Bush's family fractures. Bush and his family allegedly stop returning phone calls from Michaels and Lake. However, one source says Bush attempted to repair the relationship by telling Lake and Caravantes in a phone conversation that the deal with New Era Sports was still on.
Dec. 29, 2005: Ornstein emails DeMartino to request a $500,000 advance on a memorabilia contract DeMartino had proposed for Bush.
Jan. 4, 2006: USC loses to Texas 41-38 in the national championship game at the Rose Bowl. Bush rolls up 279 total yards and scores one touchdown.
Jan. 12, 2006: Bush declares for the NFL draft.
Mid-January, 2006: Bush hires Ornstein to be his marketing representative and agent Joel Segal to negotiate his playing contract.
Jan. 30, 2006 and Feb. 6, 2006: Marc Carlos, a lawyer for Lake, testifies on his client's behalf during a parole violation hearing. Carlos states that Lake and others had been trying to put together a sports agency with Bush as a client, and he alludes to a falling out in the agreement between Bush and Lake's group, referencing potential settlement talks between the two sides.
Early February 2006: Sources say Bush and his mother convene settlement talks with Michaels and his attorney, Brian Watkins, at a Santa Monica, Calif., office belonging to Ornstein, Bush's marketing agent. Bush's attorney, David Cornwell, is also present, and security guards look for recording devices on Michaels and Watkins by patting them down. Sources say Michaels attempts to talk to Bush directly, at which point Cornwell tells Bush and his mother to leave the room. Cornwell, according to sources, offers $100,000 to settle the dispute. Michaels and Watkins refuse, informing Cornwell that they intend to file a lawsuit to recoup monies given to Bush's family and potential earnings lost when the USC star failed to sign with New Era Sports.
Feb. 13, 2006: Watkins sends a letter to Cornwell requesting $3.2 million to settle the dispute over "lost business capital" and monies given to the Bush family while attempting to build a sports agency that he was to join. Watkins also asks if USC will be part of settlement negotiations, "as we understand their wanting to be involved due to the fact this matter was ongoing during their championship season of 2004 as well as the entire season of 2005, and any lawsuit filed might have an adverse effect on them."
April 3, 2006: New Era Sports attorney sends the Bush family an eviction notice, requiring them to vacate the Spring Valley home owned by Michaels.
April 20, 2006: Yahoo! Sports approaches Bush's mother, Denise Griffin, at the Spring Valley home owned by Michaels and inquires about the family's ties to the agency. She declines comment.
April 21, 2006: One day after being approached at the Spring Valley home, Bush's mother, stepfather and brother move out of the house. During the move, they allegedly take $12,000 in home furnishings provided by Michaels. On the same day, USC asks the Pacific 10 Conference to investigate the home and its ties to a sports agency.
April 24, 2006: The NCAA becomes a participant in the investigation. Also, then-Houston Texans general manager Charley Casserly calls Bush and leaves a message for him in hopes he could explain media reports about his family living in the home of Michaels.
April 25, 2006: Casserly calls Bush a second time, finally reaching him. Bush tells Casserly he is getting on a plane to New York City and will call Casserly when he arrives.
April 26, 2006: Bush calls Casserly but declines to discuss specifics of his parents' living arrangements. He tells Casserly that "it will be taken care of in a couple of days."
April 28, 2006: ESPN reports that Bush's attorney, Cornwell, has turned over evidence of an extortion plot against his client by New Era Sports representatives to NFL Security and the league's Players Association. The NFL issues a memo to teams in which Bush denies any knowledge of his parents' financial ties to New Era Sports. Later that day, the Texans pass on Bush with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. A source with the team says Bush's reluctance to discuss specifics of his parents' living arrangements played a part in the Texans' decision to bypass him.