In the grand scheme of things, the 15 days of extra jail time that Mike Tyson received last week for threatening a prison guard appears to be the least of his difficulties. Evidence gathered in a three-year-old lawsuit brought against Tyson's promoter, Don King, by Tyson's former manager Bill Cayton indicates that much of the $70 million in purses Tyson earned between 1985 and '91 has slipped through his fingers. In his deposition Tyson's former accountant, Mohammed Khan, says Tyson is down to a few million dollars' worth of real estate, some expensive cars and a $2.8 million annuity.
Where has the money gone? According to Joseph Maffia, a former comptroller for Don King Productions, much of it went to King and King's family. In an affidavit Maffia said that King skimmed off millions from the purses of Tyson's fights before Tyson collected his 66.6% share and King received his 33.3% promoter's fee.
According to Maffia, King usually paid his wife, Henrietta, a $100,000 consulting fee out of each fight's revenues. After Tyson received his cut, Maffia said, King charged Tyson for the $52,000 annual salary King's daughter, Debbie, received as president of the Mike Tyson Fan Club, as well as for "consulting fees" for Debbie's husband, Greg Lee, and King's sons, Carl and Eric.
King issued a statement last Tuesday saying that Maffia's affidavit is "filled with lies, fabrications and half-truths. I have never improperly taken anything from Mike and every expense was at his direction or approval."
Maffia's charges came in response to a subpoena requested by Cayton's lawyers, who want to know whether Tyson or King underreported Tyson's income to Cayton, thus reducing Cayton's cut of Tyson's earnings. Last Friday the lawyers were granted permission to subpoena King. A process server was sent to King's Manhattan town house, but King says he thought the process server was a hired gunman. After an 11-hour standoff, King called the police and several news organizations. After the police confirmed that the man was, in fact, a process server, King accepted the subpoena early Saturday.
As for Tyson's continuing attempt to appeal his rape conviction, Vincent Fuller, his chief trial counsel, has filed papers claiming that the fire at the Indianapolis Athletic Club, where the jurors in the Tyson trial were quartered, should be grounds for a new trial. Fuller says that the four females on the jury felt indebted to the male jurors who had taken care that the women were evacuated from the building first. Fuller says that the women, who all voted for acquittal on the jury's first ballot, "quickly capitulated to the men's point of view."
Meanwhile, at his disciplinary hearing at the Indiana Youth Center last Friday, Tyson was represented by a fellow inmate, whose name has not been released. The jailhouse lawyer proved to be more effective than some of Tyson's high-priced real lawyers. The enterprising fellow got Tyson's punishment reduced from a possible 38 days to the 15 he received.
Clearly, Tyson needs all the legal help he can get.
That Totalin' Town
This item appeared in the notes handed out to the press before the Houston Astro- Chicago Cub game at Wrigley Field last Thursday: " Mark Grace enters tonight's play having appeared in 199 consecutive games, 1 shy of the 200 mark."