Otis Nixon accused of prison scam by Atlanta TV news

David Brown

This is the message that greets you at Otis Nixon's website:

My life today is Christ-Centered, free from the past experiences and storms of drugs and alcohol, trials and tests of keeping it real. My testimony speaks for itself.

Well, the testimony of Fox TV reporter in Atlanta named Randy Travis also speaks. And what it says is disturbing about Nixon, a key member of the Atlanta Braves revival of the 1990s. Nixon, it is alleged, has been using his reputation as a beloved baseball player — and a recovering drug addict — to scam people out of money.

Otis, my man — say it ain't so!

Travis looked into claims that Nixon has tricked people out of as much as $1,000 a pop by promising he could gain early release for their incarcerated relatives and find a place for them to live after prison. Travis even went undercover with a hidden camera — while wearing a Braves cap, no less — to sting Nixon. Despite Nixon's reputation for speed (he stole a record six bases in a game) he could not escape the rundown, as the video above shows. The courts might ultimately decide, but Otis looks pret-ty guilty.

Nixon's business seemed to start out legitimately. Basically, he used his home as a halfway house for former inmates who needed an address before they could be released from prison. By the look of Nixon's website, these former prisoners usually would be drug-related cases, and Nixon would use his personal experiences and resources — with Christianity as a backdrop — to get them back on their feet.

[Also: Report: Mike Piazza planned revenge on Roger Clemens]

Only, for whatever reason, the state of Georgia no longer licenses Nixon's home for this activity. And he has no other properties for it. And yet, Nixon would meet with desperate people who have family members behind bars and say something like, "I can help you, but you have to pay soon because I've only got two beds left."

Only, there were no beds. What's worse, Nixon would tell the people he has influence with authorities who could speed up parole and gain early release. "I know the governor," Nixon would say. "I know this general on the parole board, he's my best friend." And maybe he does know them. Or did. But nobody has that kind of influence. That's not how paroles work.

Nixon has let himself down before, and others. In September of 1991, just before the Braves made a return to the playoffs, he tested positive for cocaine. His baseball career continued, though, as did his rehabilitated reputation. Whatever mechanism failed him then appears to be failing again. And now, at best, his reputation is ruined for all time.

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