By DANNY ROBBINS
DALLAS — The former financial adviser for ex-NFL quarterback Vince Young said under oath that he arranged a high-interest, seven-figure loan for Young during the 2011 lockout because the player wanted to throw himself a $300,000 birthday party even though he was running low on funds.
Ronnie Peoples, president and CEO of Peoples Financial Service Inc. in Raleigh, N.C., said during a videotaped deposition last month that he contacted New York-based Pro Player Funding LLC about the loan after being informed that Young had already paid for the party.
“I think we still would have been OK to go ahead and survive until the next season, but he had a birthday event coming up that he paid 300 and some thousand dollars for,” Peoples testified. “That’s what prompted that call.”
A transcript of Peoples’ deposition, taken Jan. 16 in Raleigh, was obtained by The Associated Press.
Young’s attorney, Trey Dolezal, said Peoples’ account contains numerous inaccuracies, including the statement regarding the birthday celebration.
“I have no idea what he’s talking about with the birthday party and neither does Vince,” Dolezal said.
Young is challenging a $1.7 million judgment obtained against him in New York last July by Pro Player. The sum represents the balance of $1.9 million borrowed at 20 percent interest in the former University of Texas star’s name in May 2011. Young, who has been out of football since he was cut by the Buffalo Bills before last season, was one of more than a dozen NFL players who obtained loans from Pro Player during the lockout.
He testified during a deposition in December that he “probably” signed some of the loan documents in the presence of a notary at a law office in Houston. But he said he had no need for a loan, never sought one and didn’t have access to the proceeds.
That account was disputed by Peoples, who testified that he personally discussed the loan with Young at a meeting in Houston. Moreover, funds from the loan, which closed a day before Young’s 28th birthday, were used to satisfy the quarterback’s “obligations,” Peoples said.
“We’ve got accountability to what happened to the money and a breakdown of the money, you know, once that loan closed, because that was actually reimbursement costs and stuff that Vince had incurred from borrowing money from others,” Peoples testified.
Dolezal said Young never had a meeting with Peoples in which the loan was discussed.
“He does believe he may have signed three pieces of paper that were notarized, but he was told they were banking instruments, that they needed his signature for some banking documents,” Dolezal said.
Young did not say anything about being told he was signing “banking” documents in his deposition, but Dolezal said that will be included when his client is questioned under oath again.
Peoples testified that he was contacted by an associate in Houston a day after Young led Texas to its national championship-clinching victory over USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl and was asked if he’d be interested in helping with the quarterback’s finances. Peoples said he ultimately received $65,000 a year to perform duties that included paying Young’s bills.
Even with the $26 million in guaranteed money Young received from the contract he signed with the Tennessee Titans in 2006 , the quarterback was in a financial bind after five seasons in the NFL, according to Peoples. Asked to describe Young’s financial situation in May 2011, Peoples replied: “Not good.”
Peoples said Young’s monthly expenses were unpredictable, sometimes running as high as $200,000.
“It’s almost like I can have a $30,000 budget that I know we had to pay here, but then, you know, I get an invoice for a Ferrari that he just bought for $176,000, and they want their money,” he testified.
Dolezal said it’s possible Young was on shaky financial ground in 2011 and just didn’t know it.
“The fact is we don’t have documentation to show where about $5 to $7 million is,” he said.
Young has filed a lawsuit in Houston in which he claims Peoples and his former agent, Major Adams, misappropriated $5.5 million. The suit, filed five days after the Pro Player loan went into default, also asserts that the loan was another scheme to defraud the quarterback.
Peoples testified that he was asked to arrange the loan by Adams and Young’s uncle, Keith Young, a former middle school teacher who assumed the role of business manager for his nephew.
However, Adams testified in his deposition that he had no involvement in the loan and that he had been fired by Vince Young before it was procured.
Peoples’ attorney, David Chaumette, said his client mistakenly mentioned Adams in his testimony because he often was asked by both the agent and Keith Young to secure loans for Vince Young.
Keith Young did not respond to phone and email messages seeking comment. He has yet to give a deposition.
Another lawsuit filed by Vince Young in New York calls Pro Player “a predatory lender with a history of loaning funds to football players on extraordinary onerous terms” and accuses it of harassing him. The company has denied the charge.