Ravens' Morris ordered to pay defaulted loan Pittsburgh bank wins $36,252 award from back

March 25, 1997|By Michael James | Michael James,SUN STAFF

Ravens running back Bam Morris has been ordered to pay $36,252 to a Pittsburgh bank that sued him for defaulting on a loan, and the bank is seeking to garnish part of his wages to recoup the money.

Morris, who was paid roughly $526,000 by the Ravens last year, got in a squabble with Northside Bank in late 1995 after he failed to pay off a $30,000 promissory note, Baltimore Circuit Court records show.

He had used the money from the loan for personal use as well as to pay off another loan, court papers said.

Morris agreed to pay off the loan in a single payment in December 1995 but never did so, the lawsuit claimed.

Attorneys representing Morris argued that the former Steelers running back wasn't associated with any team in mid-1996 and did not have a steady paycheck.

His financial difficulties also coincided with criminal problems -- in March 1996 he was arrested in Texas after police found six pounds of marijuana in the trunk of his car. He eventually pleaded guilty three months later to felony marijuana possession and received probation.

Shortly after the conviction he signed with the Ravens -- who paid him a $400,000 signing bonus -- and he made an offer to repay the bank, which was declined, according to Morris' attorneys.

Morris couldn't be reached yesterday and one of his agents, Ian Greengross, declined to answer a reporter's questions. In a court affidavit filed in Baltimore, Greengross said he called the bank after Morris got his bonus check and offered to pay the entire amount plus interest, but bank officials declined.

Northside Bank "refused to settle the matter and instead chose to continue to pursue this lawsuit," pushing forward to collect the principal, interest, and $4,500 in attorneys' fees, Morris' attorneys alleged in court papers.

A judge ruled in favor of the bank Feb. 28 and ordered Morris to pay back $30,000 plus $5,483 in interest and $769 in various attorneys' fees and court costs.

An attorney representing Northside Bank said that Morris -- who is due to be paid about $1.1 million for the 1997 season -- still hasn't paid back the money.

The bank filed papers last week requesting garnishment of Morris' Ravens paychecks.

Pub Date: 3/25/97

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