Tyson tries to clear King with scrawled note

May 14, 1992|By Wallace Matthews | Wallace Matthews,Newsday

Mike Tyson may have plenty to worry about while serving a six-year prison sentence for rape, but one thing he says he is not worried about is how promoter Don King has handled his money.

In a handwritten, block-printed letter titled "Mike Tyson Press Release. Don King Is Innocent!" and signed with what appears to be Tyson's signature, Tyson wrote, "I approved every expense. Don never stole from me." The letter was in response to allegations made last week by former Don King Productions controller Joseph A. Maffia.

In an affidavit filed in the ongoing lawsuit between Tyson and his former manager, Bill Cayton, Maffia detailed questionable deductions made from Tyson's purse by King, including payments of $50,000 per fight to each of King's sons and a $100,000 payment to his wife, Henrmetta, as "Tyson consultants." Maffia claimed King paid his daughter, Debbie, $52,000 a year to serve as president of the Mike Tyson Fan Club.

"My business relationship with Don is just that, me and Don King's relationship," Tyson wrote. "I never asked anyone to inquire about my business and Joe Maffia has no right whatsoever discussing my business with anyone. He was resigned from Don King Productions for being an incompetent controller."

The letter is dated May 8 -- the same day Tyson was found guilty of prison misconduct in connection with a May 4 incident in which the former heavyweight champion allegedly told a guard, "I'll whup your butt)." Tyson spent four days in a disciplinary unit with reduced privileges, and lost 15 days of accumulated good time as part of his punishment. Tyson was sentenced March 26 to six years in prison for the rape of Desiree Washington.

According to King, Tyson gave the letter to camp coordinator John Horne and appellate attorney Alan Dershowitz after a visit to the Indiana Youth Center Friday night. "People gonna say I wrote it," King said, "but I ain't got nothing to do with it."

King said Maffia's allegations were part of a plot by Cayton, a charge Tyson repeated in the letter. On Friday, King called police to his Manhattan townhouse reporting that a man was waiting outside to kill him as part of an assassination plot headed by Cayton, former New York State Athletic Commission chairman Jose Torres, journalist Jack Newfield and executives of Time Warner and HBO. Police determined the man to be a process server seeking to issue King a subpoena to give a deposition in the lawsuit.

"The only person that I have a lawsuit against for misrepresenting me is my former manager, Bill Cayton," Tyson wrote. Cayton was traveling to Atlantic City and could not be reached.

"The only people that are doing me harm and holding me unjustly is this United States Justice System through the State of Indiana," Tyson wrote.

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