The unlikely rise and unfathomable fall of Alan Miller
A former AFL fullback, Miller represented Castroneves and numerous other drivers
Al Davis once called Miller "pound for pound, the toughest player in the league"
Miller and Castroneves are charged with trying to evade taxes on $5 million
Alan Miller, an attorney who earned his law degree in the offseason while playing fullback for the AFL's Boston Patriots and NFL's Oakland Raiders, represents three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, Danica Patrick, Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and other well-known drivers.
Miller's resume also includes representing companies and teams involved in motor racing. They include Nextel -- in its negotiations with NASCAR to become title sponsor of what is now the Sprint Cup Series. Also, in the middle of 2007, Miller put together the deal that made Rob Kauffman an equal partner in Michael Waltrip Racing, bringing a cash infusion that likely saved the Waltrip team from drastic cutbacks.
The client list clearly points to a lawyer who brings great legal and negotiating skill and respect to the table. In fact, everything about Miller's life, which includes academic and athletic awards at the highest levels, is impressive.
Last October, Miller's successful run in his professional life took a drastic turn. He was indicted along with Castroneves and the driver's sister -- and business manager -- Kati Castroneves for tax evasion. They've pleaded not guilty. Opening statements in their trial in federal court in Miami were made on Tuesday. The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.
Johnson, Roger Penske and former U.S. Congressman and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Jack Kemp are among those on Miller's witness list.
This isn't the place to argue the case. That's for the attorneys in Miami to do, and for a 12-person jury to decide. The consequences of a guilty verdict are severe. Miller and Helio and Kati Castroneves duo face the threat of prison and big fines for what the government charges was an attempt to not pay taxes on more than $5 million earned by Helio Castroneves. Miller would also face disbarment, perhaps ending his legal career.
Federal prosecutors allege that Miller and the Castroneveses "did willfully attempt to evade and defeat income tax due and owing by Helio Castroneves" by filing false income tax returns. It's more complicated than that, but the bottom line is the government says Miller lied to help Castroneves cheat on his taxes.
In his 44-year career as a lawyer, Miller has never been accused of any wrongdoing or ethics violations. He has a glowing reputation for honesty and integrity, which is why he's attracted the kind of clients he has. It would be completely out of character for Miller to have intentionally violated any law.
Miller has been called an "agent" by some, a characterization that usually represents taking a percentage of the client's income. Miller never has done that. He works for clients under the typical attorney-client standard of a retainer and hourly billing. Understanding that, the question that comes to mind is this: Why would Miller advise Castroneves to commit tax evasion when he wouldn't make a dime from it? There's no financial motive for Miller, and what other motive would there be?
Miller always works in the best interest of his clients -- I know many of them and how they feel about him -- and he would never put Castroneves in the position of breaking the law. That's just not the Miller I've known for 15 years.
He's a good friend. We've eaten sushi together in three countries.
Look at the way he's conducted his life. Miller was a three-year, two-way starter (at halfback and defensive back) at Boston College. He was voted to the All-East team as a senior in 1959, played in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and was drafted in the 19th round, 219th overall, by Philadelphia.
The Eagles put him at cornerback. "It wasn't my position, but I was a good tackler," Miller said. He played the entire preseason and was released in the final cut.
Miller had not only played football for four years at BC (where he is in the Athletic Hall of Fame), but also managed to graduate with a degree in finance. He had a chance to play pro football in Canada, but decided to attend law school and enrolled at Boston University in the fall of 1959.