The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/11/07
Former NBA player Jason Caffey had two kids with his wife before she filed for divorce in Fulton County last year.
He also has had a slew of children — at least six others — with other women around the country, in and around Atlanta as well as in Alabama, Louisiana and Illinois.
Most went to court and got hefty child-support orders from Caffey while he was making millions playing professional basketball. Once he left the NBA in 2003, though, Caffey’s well of cash dried up like the shores of Lake Lanier.
But he was still on the hook for the payments. Now he has filed for bankruptcy in Alabama to get the women — and law enforcement — off his back.
Caffey’s attorney in Atlanta says his client agreed to the high payments because he could afford it. In a 10-year career with the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks, the 6-foot 8-inch power forward made as much as $5 million a season.
"Those days have ended," lawyer Jim Altman said. "And he’s been saddled by these payments that are absolutely astronomical."
Altman said he doesn’t know what happened to Caffey’s basketball money. Caffey did not return a phone message seeking comment.
Caffey, 34, filed for bankruptcy in August, but some of the women’s attorneys say he hasn’t ponied up in years.
And it’s starting to catch up to him. He recently spent about a week in a Tuscaloosa County jail in connection with one child-support case, and had an arrest warrant issued in Fulton County earlier this year for another.
According to bankruptcy documents, Caffey is nearly $2 million in debt and has about $1.15 million in assets, most of which is tied up in business ventures.
Among his other assets: two NBA championship rings he won with the Chicago Bulls ($10,000) and a 2006 Dodge Charger ($34,000).
Now living in Mobile, Caffey is a businessman, making $11,500 a month from a string of day-care centers and a sports bar, all in his hometown.
But he spends more than he earns — about $15,000 a month — forcing him to arrange a $50,000 loan from his mother, documents show.
Altman said he doesn’t know if Caffey is currently paying child support to any of the mothers.
The three attorneys contacted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution say he isn’t. And one of them, Randy Kessler of Atlanta, noted the irony that Caffey has entered the child-care industry.
"He’s a deadbeat," said another attorney, Clarence Roby Jr., who is representing a Louisiana woman who had two of Caffey’s children. "If you choose to procreate and have children coast to coast and you don’t take care of those children, you’re a deadbeat."
It’s not clear exactly how many children Caffey has fathered — and his lawyer’s not telling.
"It’s more than I have and fewer than what Evander Holyfield has," said Altman, who has two children, compared to 11 for Holyfield.
The attorney for Caffey’s wife, Bebe Caffey of Roswell, said she doesn’t know, either. Neither does her client.
"She didn’t know about all of the children," lawyer Regina Edwards said. "She knew about a few. She had no idea he was being that disrespectful to her."
The women listed as creditors in the bankruptcy documents had eight of his children— five boys and three girls between the ages of 3 and 14.
Two of those children were born to Caffey and his wife. They were married in August 1998 and separated in January 2006, but have not yet finalized the divorce. A settlement included $2,500-a-month child support payments, but Caffey never signed it and has not been paying her, Edwards said.
Locally, Caffey had children with at least two women: LoRunda Brown of Lawrenceville and Nicole Carter of Atlanta, according to court records.
In the five years since Brown’s boy was born, Caffey has since racked up more than $100,000 in child-support debt and prompted a Fulton County judge to issue the arrest warrant, said Brown’s attorney, Randy Kessler of Atlanta. The warrant was never served.
Brown, meanwhile, is willing to lower the payments "if he would just pay her something," Kessler said. "She knows that he’s not in the NBA. But she can’t go with zero every month."
Since the bankruptcy filing, Altman has asked that the judge set aside the warrant. He is awaiting a response.
News researcher Sharon Gaus contributed to this report.