Mo. Appeals Court Upholds Judgment Against Scottie Pippen

February 22, 2007

Former NBA Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen must pay a bank more than $5 million in a breach of contract lawsuit involving a loan for a business jet, an appeals court ruled.

This past week’s ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a ruling in St. Louis County, where a judge found last year that Pippen owed U.S. Bank just over $5.021 million in principal, interest and attorneys’ fees.

According to court documents, Pippen was taking so many charter flights that a pilot convinced him in 2001 that he should buy his own plane.

Pippen and his wife, Larsa, formed a company called Air Pip and borrowed $4.375 million from JODA LLC, an aircraft finance company based in the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield.

U.S. Bank later bought the note and sued the Pippens and their company in 2004.

Pippen has acknowledged signing a promissory note with a personal guarantee, according to the documents. However, it has never been made clear whether he ever got to use the Grumman Gulfstream II, a twin-engine corporate jet.

“The location and condition of the plane is dependent on who you talk to,” Pippen’s attorney Gary Sarachen said.

Pippen sued a Chicago law firm in 2005, claiming the firm persuaded him to use a financial adviser who lost millions of dollars through questionable investments.

His attorneys unsucessfully argued in the Missouri lawsuit, both in St. Louis County and on appeal, that the seven-time All-Star was the victim of a conspiracy by those he had trusted to put together the deal.

Pippen, 41, played 17 years for the Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets. He played for Central Arkansas in Conway when he was in college. He now lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He retired in 2004 after scoring 18,940 career points, but said last week that he has kept in shape and would consider a comeback with a playoff contender needing a part-time point guard.

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