San Diego It was a banner season for Chargers star running back LaDainian Tomlinson -- who makes a reported $1.75 million or so a year and could get as much as $38 million over the course of his current contract -- but not so good for his mother Loreane. According to federal court records, she declared bankruptcy in November 2002 and was engaged with spouse Jon Collins in a fierce fight with angry creditors throughout most of her son's on-field triumphs of last year. Of course, you'd never guess that from Tomlinson's official biography on the Chargers' website: "If you asked LaDainian Tomlinson what he's most proud of, you'd expect him to talk about his record-setting accomplishments on the field or making the Pro Bowl in his second NFL season. But what he's most proud of are the things football has enabled him to do off the field. The first thing football allowed him to do was purchase brand-new homes for his mother, Loreane, and sister, Londria, in Dallas. It was a dream come true for Loreane, who raised three children on her own. Tomlinson took things one step further though. In addition to the homes, he also purchased a pair of vacant buildings in Dallas, one for his mother's real estate company, Eagle Lending, and the other for his sister's daycare center named Miracles and Blessings." But a report dated February 21, 2003, by the U.S. trustee in charge of the Tomlinsons' Texas bankruptcy painted a different picture of Loreane's financial status. "Mr. Collins is a commissioned salesman selling prepaid legal fees. He has only recently begun this endeavor, and his earnings thus far have been meager. Mr. Collins stated he was not required to file federal income tax returns for the few years prior to 2002." Loreane, the trustee reported, "is a mortgage broker. The business was begun some 14 months ago with $100,000 given to [her] by her son.... Only $759.69 still remains of the original $100,000 investment." The report concluded, "The financial documents reviewed and the testimony of the debtors indicate the business will not be successful," "The debtor's business is not viable," and "The continuance of the business is not desirable." More bad news came in a May 21 filing by an agent for Wells Fargo, which claimed that the bank was owed $238,119.89 plus interest on a back-due mortgage. "Debtor has no realizable equity in the property, in that the principal balance of the [loan] plus accrued interest, late charges, escrow advances, and attorney fees is in excess of the value of the property." Further complications arose with the filing in May by Maretta Collins, who claimed she was married to Jon and that he owed her $68,000 for "unpaid child support," which she intended to collect through a "contempt action which is pending in the 254th district court of Dallas County, Texas." The IRS, according to a trustee filing, wanted $57,000; a long line of other creditors included General Motors Acceptance Corporation. In early September, the Wells Fargo agent filed another notice, alleging that "debtor has failed to remit the August 1, 2003, and September 1, 2003, payments. Debtor has received all allowable notice of right to cure default and is not entitled to further notices of right to cure." The tumultuous bankruptcy case was finally dismissed by the judge on September 29, with creditors unpaid and the debts still owed, according to the filings, due in part to "failure to return the worksheet within the appropriate deadline." Loreane Tomlinson did not respond to messages left at her business and residence, nor did her bankruptcy attorney return calls. LaDainian's Kansas City-based agent, Tom Condon, did not respond to requests for comment.
Bullets over Market Street Who is putting those nasty-looking bullet holes all over the big picture windows of the Wells Fargo Bank and expensive neighboring condos at the otherwise peaceful upscale corner of Market Street and First Avenue downtown? Some say it's disgruntled construction workers, others claim drive-by gangbangers. Police are reportedly working the case ... Continuing to enjoy the spoils of victory, Bob White, ex-chief of staff to former governor Pete Wilson and campaign intimate of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, will receive the Chamber of Commerce's "Spirit of San Diego" award at a downtown dinner on January 20. The SDSU alum, a local power during Wilson's mayoral tenure here, is said to be trying to build on Schwarzenegger's electoral success by expanding his lobbying business to local companies seeking juice in the state capitol.
Comings and Goings Chris Kraul, once married to a South Bay doctor and one of the standout staff members of the now defunct San Diego edition of the Los Angeles Times, suffered serious injury in that New Year's Eve blast at a Baghdad nightclub where he was reporting. The Times said that he had undergone surgery, but that his condition was not "life threatening." ... City schools superintendent Alan Bersin is running for a seat on the board of overseers at Harvard University. Coincidentally, he's speaking Friday at a Harvard Club meeting at an undisclosed location in La Mesa. Topic: "The crisis public schools are facing and homeland security." Some district watchers speculate that the former U.S. Attorney and Bill Clinton's border czar, who reportedly spent part of his summer on unpaid leave in Bolivia weeks before the country's U.S.-backed president was deposed by left-wing insurgents, may be interested in a top post at the Central Intelligence Agency.
-- Matt Potter