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Thread: Scott McKinney update

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    Scott McKinney update

    Sportscaster eyed in fraud
    Investors claim losses of $140,000

    Kyle Veazey ‚ΔΆ kyle.veazey@clarionledger.com ‚ΔΆ June 2, 2008

    With a down-home, easy-going demeanor and connections across the South's college sports scene, Booneville native and University of Mississippi alum Scott McKinney built a sports talk radio empire.

    His Southern Sports Tonight show was heard in the coveted afternoon drive time on some 115 stations from Texas to South Carolina. His guests included A-list coaches.

    But McKinney's image took a major blow in March when he was arrested in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., where he now lives, and charged with 16 counts of investment fraud, racketeering and theft.

    If those allegations prove true, McKinney could be in trouble in his home state, also.

    Three men - two from Mississippi and one from Tennessee - say McKinney bilked them out of about $140,000 in 2001 and 2002 to fund the startup of the show, which appeared to thrive until abruptly going off the air in January 2005.

    It's all a stunning about-face for the likable host. Court documents show he owes more than a quarter of a million dollars to two Mississippi banks for defaulted loans, and his alleged victims say he could be the target of an investigation from state Attorney General Jim Hood's office.

    Matt Spencer of Nashville said he has filed a complaint with Hood's office; Wilkes Bryan of West Point and Herbert Rogers of New Albany say they've been contacted by an attorney general's investigator and are sending the requested information. McKinney's former radio co-host, Max Howell of Jackson, said he has spoken to the investigator as well.

    McKinney, 42, said he has been advised not to discuss the allegations in Mississippi because of the charges in Florida. But he said in a telephone interview that he'd make things right.

    "If there are issues with people back in Mississippi, I would certainly be willing to sit down and talk to them and iron out any issues there are," he said. McKinney's attorney, West Ritchie, wouldn't comment.

    McKinney pleaded not guilty on April 7 to the Florida charges and faces a July 7 trial. He continues to host Southern Sports Tonight on WTKE-FM in Fort Walton Beach. He returned to the air after serving 12 days in a county jail before being released on a $100,000 bond.

    His employer, Star Broadcasting, posted the bond, according to a Florida newspaper. Three days after McKinney's March 7 arrest, Star Broadcasting President Ron Hale issued a news release defending McKinney, citing McKinney's positive influence on the community.

    "So far, all we have are unsubstantiated accusations," wrote Hale in the release.

    Jan Schaefer, the spokeswoman for Hood's office, wouldn't confirm whether an investigation is ongoing in Mississippi.

    Speaking generally, she said the next step after a complaint form is filed is to determine "the necessary course of action which may or may not consist of opening an investigation," she wrote in an e-mail.
    Jilted investors

    Spencer, Bryan and Rogers say they invested with McKinney in Southern Sports Tonight LLC. Add up the respective shares they maintain McKinney sold them, and it's more than 100 percent ownership in the company.

    Rogers, 60, a New Albany businessman, said he invested $75,000 in what he thought was a 5 0/50 partnership with McKinney. (A partnership agreement Rogers provided to The Clarion-Ledger showed that Rogers and McKinney would each own 42.5 percent of the company, with three remaining 5 percent shares to be sold, and that Rogers would fund the company to $100,000. Rogers said the agreement was amended sometime later.)

    Bryan, 38, who operates Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, said he invested $50,000 in what he thought was an equal partnership or close to it.

    Spencer, 34, said he initially gave McKinney $15,000, but his investment grew to 20.9 percent, some $35,000, after stock swaps between Southern Sports Tonight LLC and Spencer's business, which ran the former Blue Marlin restaurant off the Oxford Square.

    That alleged approach is similar to the charges in Florida. Investors there blame him for the loss of $138,900 obtained shortly after he left the Memphis area in 2005 and moved to Florida, attempting to re-create Southern Sports Tonight.

    In its prime, from around 2001 to early 2005, the show could be heard around the Southeast, including most areas of Mississippi. In Jackson, it was carried on WJDX-AM, an all-sports talk station.

    McKinney didn't just broadcast from his Memphis-area studio, either. On-location shows were common from bars and restaurants in Hattiesburg, Starkville, Oxford and Jackson. The show even broadcast once a week from the Pearl River Resort in Choctaw for about a year, said Aaron Sones, who worked for McKinney as the show's operations manager.

    Though it was mainly a caller-driven show, where fans phoned in to gripe, brag or just ask questions, the show had well-known guests like Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden and Nick Saban, the current University of Alabama and former Louisiana State University football coach.
    Bad math or fraud?

    McKinney's start in college athletics came at Ole Miss in the early 1990s, when he was an assistant sports information director. That's where Rogers, a donor to the school's athletic department, said he met him.

    In the late 1990s, McKinney had worked his way into a co-hosting gig on Conference Call, which featured Howell as a host.

    McKinney left an impression on almost everyone who met him through his back-slapping, always-smiling personality. "He was so smooth," Howell said. "Good ol' boy, come from Booneville, just out there to make a living."

    Said Bryan: "He was a good salesman. That's why he was really good at his show."

    Steve Signaigo, who was syndicating programs out of Memphis for a company named Division 1 Sports, said McKinney approached him in early 2005 about purchasing Southern Sports Tonight, LLC. Signaigo's company agreed to spend $20,000 for the company, which he described as having only one valuable asset - an extensive affiliate network.

    Signaigo said the $20,000 went to the investors, but with the company having more than 100 percent ownership, the division became tricky. Eventually, Signaigo said, they agreed to split the money based on who had the most invested.

    Signaigo doesn't think McKinney was malicious.

    "I really didn't see Scott trying to screw people over, because if you're going to screw people over, you'd do it for millions and not 10,000 bucks," Signaigo said. "I just think he's not really good at math."

    After moving to Florida, McKinney continued to be haunted by $266,066 he owed in Mississippi, according to court documents. A 2005 decision in Madison County Circuit Court ordered McKinney to pay Merchants and Farmers Bank $199,580 to settle two defaulted 2004 loans. One, for $22,100 and payable in 30 days, carried the signatures of McKinney and a G.W. Bryan III.

    Wilkes Bryan said he found out a year after the loan that his signature as a co-signer had been forged, but the bank didn't hold him responsible for the money. Court documents don't mention Bryan as being liable.

    Also, judgments from DeSoto County in 2005 show that McKinney owes BancorpSouth $66,486 to satisfy a pair of loans in default.

    All three judgments have been entered in an Okaloosa County (Fla.) court. Keith Bell, an attorney for BancorpSouth in that case, said the bank has not been able to collect on the judgment. Jeffrey Lathem, who is listed as M&F's attorney in Florida, wouldn't comment.

    In Florida, Brian Campbell, a real estate developer and self-described "sports talk nut," said he was approached by McKinney in May 2005. He and friend Brian Young - who now lives in Jackson - say they gave McKinney $28,500 each for a 49 percent share in Southern Sports Tonight, LLC.

    Campbell said he soon found others who had partnerships, too. Early last year, he took his information to the local sheriff's department, which contacted state investigators. McKinney was arrested on March 7.

    "I can't make a comment on the credibility of the case, but this is not that complicated if that tells you anything," said Russ Edgar, the Florida prosecutor in charge of the case.

    Rogers remains angry. He wanted to fly to Fort Walton Beach to confront McKinney at his plea hearing in April, but couldn't leave because he needed to attend a funeral.

    It wouldn't have mattered, though: McKinney entered his not guilty plea via fax.

    "He was just bogus as hell," Rogers said. "That's all you can say, you know? Absolutely just bogus as hell."

  2. #2
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    Re: Scott McKinney update

    what the hell happened to all that money plus whatever the show made? Is Scott a gambler or into drugs or something?

  3. #3
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    Re: Scott McKinney update

    I wish Scott the best in this.

    He will answer for any wrongdoing on his part.

    But I don't want to see the man destroyed becuz of this.
    Trick Magnet The Hut Valentine

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    Quote Originally Posted by zud the hut View Post
    I wish Scott the best in this.

    He will answer for any wrongdoing on his part.

    But I don't want to see the man destroyed becuz of this.
    He shouldn't have his reputation destroyed? Anyone who steals or grossly mismanages investor money has a good view of what pond scum looks like.

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    Re: Scott McKinney update

    Quote Originally Posted by Extra Point View Post
    He shouldn't have his reputation destroyed? Anyone who steals or grossly mismanages investor money has a good view of what pond scum looks like.
    His rep is destroyed. Beyond that...there is most likely a criminal punishment.

    Do you think that he deserves more than that? There is no doubt that he has already paid a price and will pay an even bigger price in the future. He is fortunate that he has that radio station supporting him. This event will play out in the legal system and not what people think on a sports message board.

    People make mistakes and can learn from them. I have made more than my share of mistakes and in the past...I've had plenty of people who wanted to throw stones @ me.

    I know the man on a personal level and he has my best wishes and that doesn't mean that I want him not to confront his sins...Becuz confronting his sins to God through Jesus Christ is exactly what he needs to do. Many times...people have to hit rock bottom before they look up to God.
    Trick Magnet The Hut Valentine

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    Re: Scott McKinney update

    Quote Originally Posted by zud the hut View Post
    His rep is destroyed. Beyond that...there is most likely a criminal punishment.

    Do you think that he deserves more than that? There is no doubt that he has already paid a price and will pay an even bigger price in the future. He is fortunate that he has that radio station supporting him. This event will play out in the legal system and not what people think on a sports message board.

    People make mistakes and can learn from them. I have made more than my share of mistakes and in the past...I've had plenty of people who wanted to throw stones @ me.

    I know the man on a personal level and he has my best wishes and that doesn't mean that I want him not to confront his sins...Becuz confronting his sins to God through Jesus Christ is exactly what he needs to do. Many times...people have to hit rock bottom before they look up to God.
    You are darn right he deserves everything coming to him. I hope the consequences are dire for everyone who squanders away another's money, especially if they do it in a criminal way.

    Unless you have been on the losing end of that deal like I have, I don't expect you to understand.

  7. #7
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    Re: Scott McKinney update

    Quote Originally Posted by Extra Point View Post
    You are darn right he deserves everything coming to him. I hope the consequences are dire for everyone who squanders away another's money, especially if they do it in a criminal way.

    Unless you have been on the losing end of that deal like I have, I don't expect you to understand.
    I'm sorry for you loss. I don't know what or why it was. So, you're right, in that I don't understand what happened to you.

    I pray that Scott will look deeply within himself and discover what is truly important to his life and what he needs to do. I think that this is a crossroads for his path in life. You can't run away from who you are and some of the things have caught up with him.
    Trick Magnet The Hut Valentine

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    Re: Scott McKinney update

    Well....looks like Scott pleaded guilty here in Florida.....http://www.nwfdailynews.com/news/mck...dgar_talk.html

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    Re: Scott McKinney update

    He's going to remain on-air until sentencing

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    Re: Scott McKinney update

    Sad to hear that.

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