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Barry Bonds a Hall of Famer in the Courts

WWW- Barry Bonds offers few glimpses into his mind (well, look at the skull protecting it), but through the help of the California court system the Daily News provides some highlights of previous lawsuits Bonds has been involved in, offering a few snapshots of a life that is probably different than yours. Some make him seem downright sympathetic. Others…do not.


In 1993, Bonds’ cousin was allegedly beaten up by a man she had been dating named Sam Green. A few months later Green threatened her and her mother (Bonds’ aunt) and threw a brick through a window of the aunt’s home, according to Bonds’ statement in the case. The two women went to their famous relative for help, and in April 1994 he went to visit the the beauty salon that Green’s mother, Shirley Lewis, owned in Riverside, Calif.

Even though he was half the size he would grow to be after 1998, the visit had an impact. According to a lawsuit Lewis filed, Bonds and a bodyguard “threatened plaintiff and her son, Sam Green, with great bodily harm and/or death.”

Bonds’ side of the story was that he went there and told Lewis that Green, who was “hiding in the back room,” had better leave his cousin and aunt alone. Both sides got restraining orders against each other, but the day before the statute of limitations ran out, Lewis sued Bonds for assault, claiming that he tried to destroy her business and made her a nervous wreck. She also blamed him for a fall she suffered – a month after his visit.

Bonds’ side noted that when Lewis initially sought the restraining order, Lewis said Bonds had threatened her son, but not her. The story changed when she wanted $500,000 in damages. “As a result of these injuries, including high blood pressure, plaintiff has suffered general damages in an amount to be proven at trial,” she said.

It never got to trial. The case was thrown out.


Bonds’ divorce from his wife Susann “Sun” Bonds in the mid-1990s was a nasty affair, with their case ending up in the state supreme court. While arguing over visitation rights of their two children, Sun wrote in a brief: “Having everyone near him at his ‘beck and call’ and always willing and available to comply with his demands has made it impossible for him to accept a ‘no’ from me or anyone else.”

She asked that when they transfered the children from one to the other that it be done in a way that they would not have to face each other because of “the current animosity level.”

The records detail some of their expenses, such as the annual bill of $14,010 for their joint cell phone, and the $28,394 Barry withdrew from their account in cash during the one-year period accountants reviewed. (At one point, Bonds hired a “forensic” accountant to review the claims of Sun’s accountants.) He also made $39,800 in charitable donations.

One complicating factor was that the divorce proceeded through the strike of 1994-95. Bonds was in the middle of a $43.75 million, six-year deal, but was looking at a reduction in salary for the season. Accountants estimated he would still get $20,837 from the MLB players licensing fund, plus $5,625 a month in advertising and $1,000 a month in interest. (This season he is set to make $18 million, and last year made $22 million. No wonder Sun continues to wrangle over custody issues and money: Just last week, the two appeared in a custody hearing in Redwood City, Calif.)

Sun Bonds, seeking to maintain a $21,000-a-year clothing allowance and other expenses, fought hard to break their pre-nuptial agreement (Sun was awarded $10,000 per month for each child and $10,000 a month in spousal support in Dec. ’95), ultimately losing in state supreme court. She wanted to maintain what she described as “an extraordinarily extravageant lifestyle,” in which they regularly had more then $250,000 a month in expenditures. But she ended up with a few things to show for it. Besides the money and child support she received, Sun went home with, “a selection of commercial video tapes, audio tapes and compact discs,” “four Swedish vases” and some patio furniture. “If and when located, Barry will turn over any of Sun’s books still in his possession and an autographed Elton John hat.”

And this promise: “Barry will use his best efforts to obtain autographed photographs of Michael Jackson, Michael Bolton, Patti LaBelle, Jerry Rice and Bobby Bonilla.”

Extravagant they may have been. Rockers, they were not.


Bonds had other troubles in the mid-90s. While workers were installing a pool in one of his homes, a landscaper named Ramon Gutierrez stepped on a forming screw, and punctured his foot. The State Compensation Insurance Fund sued on the worker’s behalf, asking for $45,063.07 from Bonds and the contractors in medical costs. Bonds and the contractors won in arbitration.


There aren’t many secrets left when it comes to Bonds’ steroid use or his association with the BALCO lab. But a glance at the notes taken by IRS special agent Jeff Novitzky when he busted BALCO founder Victor Conte, BALCO VP James Valente and trainer Greg Anderson offer some interesting tidbits.

For example, as writers Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams write in last week’s exerpt of the book “Game of Shadows,” Anderson had a folder with Bonds’ name on it that contained a list of drugs and schedules for the slugger. The court records show that at first Anderson would only admit that he supplied to bodybuilders. Then the agents told him they found the folders. “When confronted with this Anderson stated that he didn’t think he should be talking anymore because he didn’t want to go to jail,” Novitzky wrote.

After his interview with Conte, Noviztky wrote that a cycle of “the clear,” otherwise known as THG, and “the cream” cost $350 each. Conte wouldn’t mail the drugs, he would give them to the athletes in person when Anderson brought them by. The athletes were told to take them two times per week for three weeks, then take a week off.

And for all the money spent on developing THG, Novitzky learned from his interview with Valente that Bonds “didn’t like the way it made him feel.”


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