Warrant authorized for agent Leigh Steinberg

”Show me the money” indeed: A bench warrant has been
authorized for the sports agent who was the inspiration for the
movie ”Jerry Maguire” after he failed to appear in court in a
case involving a $1.4 million debt.

An Orange County Superior Court commissioner authorized the
warrant after Leigh Steinberg failed to attend court last week,
court records show.

Court papers show Steinberg was ordered to pay $1.4 million last
year to the Irvine Company in a default judgment for office space
he leased in Newport Beach. Steinberg stopped paying under the
terms of his lease in 2009, according to court papers filed by the
landlord, which declined to comment on the case.

Steinberg was the inspiration for Tom Cruise’s character in
1996’s ”Jerry Maguire,” which turned ”Show me the money!” into
an enduring catchphrase, though Steinberg isn’t actually known for
using that phrase.

Steinberg said he’s not hiding or running from the law. He said
he has an office open for business in Irvine and thousands of
friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter.

The 62-year-old agent said he’s still representing athletes and
acting as a consultant on projects related to sports in movies,
television and video games.

Steinberg said he had asked his attorney to change the date of
his Dec. 15 hearing and was told it was taken care of. Steinberg
said he was unaware of any warrant in the case, which stems from
some payments he missed in 2009 before moving to less expensive
office space.

”Since when in this country do you put people in jail for
having debt?” he said in a phone interview Thursday. ”The point
is, I had some financial struggles, which I regret. And I am
working hard right now to pay the debts I owe.”

The warrant was authorized by Superior Court Commissioner Jane
D. Myers. The court would need to receive instructions and fees
from the plaintiff, the Irvine Company, for the warrant to become
effective.

Steinberg said his financial troubles stem in part from his
divorce in 2008. He separated from his wife in 2006.

During the divorce proceedings, Steinberg told the court he had
suffered ”significant business reversals and losses” that had
prompted the couple to refinance the family home, according to
papers filed in family court in Orange County.

Since that time, Steinberg has also been sued over allegedly
unpaid bills owed to a bank, credit card company, apartment complex
and dentist, court records show.

Those amounts were far smaller than the Irvine Company case,
including a $6,754 bill from a dentist, the records show.

Earlier this month, the Irvine Company asked the court to
require Steinberg to apply a portion of his income stream to pay
the judgment, alleging process servers have been unable to directly
contact him.

”Steinberg is a semi famous figure with huge apparent notoriety
but shows signs of significant recent deterioration,” Brooke
Brandt, an attorney for the Orange County real estate company,
wrote in a Dec. 9 court filing. ”He appears to have a phalanx of
security protection around him that prevents process servers from
gaining access to him unless he allows it.”

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Feb. 6.

Steinberg is considered the first super agent in sports, having
represented such NFL stars as Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Warren Moon
and Ben Roethlisberger, as well as boxer Oscar De La Hoya. His
resume includes representing eight No. 1 overall NFL draft picks.
He began his career in 1975 and was able to secure huge signing
bonuses for some of football’s biggest stars.

Associated Press writer John Rogers contributed to this report
from Los Angeles. AP Sports Writer Bernie Wilson contributed from
San Diego.