Rich Rodriguez was business partners with a banned booster facing five felony counts
A banned Clemson University booster now facing five felony counts was one of Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez’s business partners in the failed real-estate venture that led to a $3.9 million lawsuit filed last month.
Clegg Lamar Greene, named in the suit accusing Rodriguez, Greene and three others of defaulting on the multi-million-dollar loan in May, was arrested Dec. 29 on five felony counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each count.
Greene allegedly stole money from investors, including Rodriguez, to pay debts on various business deals, buy furniture and have cosmetic surgery, according to South Carolina Law Enforcement Division arrest affidavits.
Greene, a 71-year-old who lives in Clemson, S.C., was accused in 2000 of providing a $1,300 loan and use of his boat to two Clemson recruits. A university investigation found two minor infractions, and officials disassociated Greene from the football program.
Clemson associate athletic director Tim Bourret said Greene was re-instated to the program and later banned again.
Rodriguez, the offensive coordinator and associate head coach at Clemson from 1999-2000, declined to discuss his relationship with Greene when questioned Tuesday on the weekly Big Ten coaches teleconference.
“My financial advisor and his representatives are taking care of that, and I would prefer just to talk about football and Western (Michigan) and our upcoming game,” Rodriguez said.
On Wednesday, he declined to speak again before practice.
"I'm not talking anything about the personal matters," Rodriguez said.Â
Mike Wilcox, Rodriguez’s financial advisor, did not return a voice mail left at his office Tuesday afternoon. Calls to Greene’s phone went unanswered.
According to court documents, Rodriguez is a partner in three limited liability companies that invested in condominium developments near college football stadiums. Rodriguez’s Atlanta-based agent, Mike Brown, manages the companies.
The three condo developments are:
â€¢ The Spur at Williams-Brice, a 69-unit complex “in the shadows” of South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium. The one-, two- and three-bedroom condos are used mainly for tailgating and entertainment purposes with some permanent residents, said Michelle Miller of Landmark Resources, the property management group for The Spur.
Rodriguez, Greene, Greene’s son Jeffery Greene, Floyd Elliot and former Clemson assistant coach Ron West, now the co-defensive coordinator at Tulsa, were partners in the Blacksburg development. Blacksburg is at the center of last month’s $3.9 million lawsuit filed by Nexity Bank, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala.
Wes Few, an attorney working for Nexity Bank, said in a phone interview Tuesday that Rodriguez is the target of the lawsuit. While Rodriguez's business partners may have been part of the deal, Rodriguez was "the financial strength behind the loan."
Few said Nexity Bank expects to be paid in full and dismissed a statement released Monday by Wilcox that the Michigan coach is the victim of a Ponzi scheme.
“To me, a victim is someone who is out the money and who isn't going to be paid back," Few said. “My client is the victim. Someone that hasn't put a dime of his own money into something doesn't fit into the victim status.”
Chris Olson, who Brown named as the attorney for The Legends of Blacksburg, LLC, in a 2008 deposition, did not return a phone call or e-mail seeking comment Tuesday.
Brown referred all questions to Wilcox.
Rodriguez said he is focused on Michigan's season-opener Saturday against Western Michigan, not the lawsuit.
“It’s not anything that will take my attention or focus away from getting ready for the season,” he said.
Dave Birkett covers the University of Michigan football team for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lee Higgins, Michael Rothstein and Jeff Arnold contributed to this report.Â