- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 23, 2005

Bankruptcy attorneys for former heavyweight boxing champion Riddick Bowe are seeking a court-ordered probe into millions of dollars in financial transactions involving the boxer, a local security firm and a Virginia lending company.

The request, filed Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Greenbelt, marks the latest twist in the collapse of D.C.-based Unlimited Security Inc. The family-run security company held more than $40 million in D.C. and federal government security contracts.

The company fell into bankruptcy liquidation earlier this year after a financial crisis led to the departure of its co-founder and chief executive officer, Jeffrey N. Jackson, who also worked with Bowe in a D.C.-based firm that handled boxing promotions.

Citing “highly suspicious circumstances” and “questionable transactions,” Bowe’s attorneys Friday asked Judge Paul Mannes to order the examination of a $3 million claim against Bowe held by Commerce Funding Corp. of Vienna, Va., which provided financing for Unlimited Security.

The lending company sued Bowe in Fairfax Circuit Court last year, saying he reneged on a 2002 deal to guarantee more than $2.4 million the company had advanced to Unlimited Security.

However, Bowe’s bankruptcy attorneys are asking for an investigation into the financing guarantee, citing handwritten changes to the agreement and two pages “not believed to have been a part of any document the debtor ever signed,” court records show.

“The highly suspicious circumstances and questionable transactions … all cry out for a thorough investigation,” Bowe’s attorneys said in filings last week.

Bowe attorney Paul M. Nussbaum of Baltimore did not return phone calls. Commerce Funding attorneys also have declined to comment on their claim against Bowe, referring questions to documents that the company had filed in Fairfax Circuit Court.

According to those documents, Bowe signed the guarantee but failed to honor it after Unlimited Security defaulted. A Fairfax County Circuit Court judge has issued a default judgment against Bowe. According to court records, the boxer repeatedly failed to file responses to various legal pleadings from Commerce Funding.

In their request to Judge Mannes last week, Bowe’s bankruptcy attorneys also raised questions about the boxer’s past legal representation.

Jimmie Ray Lawson, a Collinsville, Va.-based attorney for Bowe in 2003 and 2004, was disbarred by the Virginia State Bar Association in June, Bowe’s bankruptcy filing said.

In addition, the panel cited Mr. Lawson’s handling of more than $500,000 belonging to Bowe and a fabricated boxing promotions agreement, purportedly created by Mr. Lawson, between Bowe and the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Bowe told The Washington Times in a previous interview that he regrets his dealings with Unlimited Security.

The boxer’s involvement with the company began more than five years ago. Bowe’s nephew arranged for the boxer to meet Mr. Jackson, who, in addition to running Unlimited Security, founded a boxing promotions company based in the District.

Since 2002, Bowe, the security company and Mr. Jackson have gone bankrupt.

Mr. Jackson filed for personal bankruptcy in August, owing $2.8 million to Bowe and $3.1 million to Commerce Funding.

Unlimited Security filed for bankruptcy in 2002. The company attempted to reorganize for more than three years, but was liquidated earlier this year.

Bowe is struggling with financial troubles while trying to resurrect his career. He was a two-time world heavyweight boxing champion in the early 1990s, but his comeback has been mired in legal and health problems.

He spent 17 months in prison for abducting his first wife, Judy Bowe, and their five children in 1998. He was released from federal prison last year.

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