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Allegedly broke and ill, Dennis Rodman avoids jail time for now

March 27, 2012 |  1:39 pm

This post has been corrected. Please see note at end for details.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman escaped being sent to jail Tuesday for failing to pay spousal and child support, but it may be only a brief respite for the onetime basketball player who carved out a prestigious party boy reputation during his years living on the oceanfront in Newport Beach.

Rodman, who faces up to 20 days in jail, was ordered to return to court in Orange County on May 29.

Through March 1, Rodman, 50, owed $808,935 in back child support for the 9- and 10-year-old children that he had with his third wife, Michelle Rodman, said her attorney, Jack Kayajanian, in court documents.

Rodman also owed $51,441 through March 1 in back spousal support, Kayajanian alleged in court documents.

Michelle Rodman, identified in court papers as a Costa Mesa resident, is also requesting attorneys' fees.

Dennis Rodman's attorney, Linnea Willis, said in court documents that the former Laker is barely capable of paying for his living expenses, let alone the $5,000 he owes for one child from another marriage.

He is "extremely sick" and his marketability is diminishing with age and illness, according to court documents.

"In all honesty, Dennis, although a very sweet person, is an alcoholic," said Peggy Williams, his financial advisor. "His sickness impacts his ability to get work. This case, especially his wife filing for divorce, has put him on a binge that I have never seen before. He is extremely hurt and extremely sick. He is often unable to obtain work because of this sickness. And his sickness is getting increasingly worse."

Rodman appeared in court Tuesday, dressed in a white blazer, black jeans and Converse tennis shoes. He brought along a Chicago Bulls hat.

He said that he and  his ex wife -– whom he referred to as his “wife” during the court session -– get along and that he’d dined with her and his children at an Outback Steakhouse on Monday evening.

Some of Rodman's financial hardships stem from having cashed out his NBA retirement for pennies on the dollar so he could pay back taxes owed to the state of California for 2002-03, according to documents filed with the Lamoreaux Justice Center in Orange.

Rodman still owes more than $350,000 in back taxes, according to court documents, but Willis said Rodman's taxes were done improperly by a former accountant and disputed that figure.

Rodman, who played on championship Chicago Bulls teams with Michael Jordan before coming to the Lakers, often led the NBA in rebounds. He has a long history with Newport Beach, whose police were called to his Seashore Drive home in West Newport 80 times during the eight years he lived there. He now lives in Miami.

[For The Record 3/27/12, 6:12 p.m. : An earlier version of this post incorrectly said that Dennis Rodman is 51. He's 50. ]


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Photo: Dennis Rodman playing basketball in 2004. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times