Although Shaquille O’Neal retired earlier this month after playing 19 seasons in the NBA, his name surfaced in the news in a manner that he most certainly did not want it to appear. The “Los Angeles Times” has reported that the former All-Star center and a business partner Mark Stevens, have been accused by a former business associate in being involved in an alleged kidnapping, robbery and beating by gang members that is said to have taken place in February of 2008.
The alleged victim Robert Ross went to the Los Angeles Police Department’s 77th Division and according to police reports with bloody clothes and with his face bleeding. He told police that members of the “Main Street Crips” carrying weapons kidnapped him in West Hollywood and forced his to drive his Rolls-Royce to the home of Ladell Rowles and apparent leader of the gang. Ross said the gang members then beat him and stole a diamond necklace and earrings, a Rolex watch and $15,000 in cash. The alleged victim told police that while the beating took place Rowles demanded $100,000 and an alleged videotape of O’Neal having sex with a woman other than his wife at the time. Rowles is said to have screamed at Ross “Mark and Shaq know who the real boss is now.”
Ross says the conflict started over a bad business deal involving a rapper he had brought to the record label owned by the men. Ross says he was cut out of profits he felt he was owed and got upset. So he sent a message through a mutual acquaintance that he had a tape of O’Neal having sex with a woman at the home Ross owned and demanded money not to release it. The alleged victim says according to reports he was “bluffing” but says the beatings took place two weeks after he had sent the message.
O’Neal and Stevens were questioned by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department in 2009 but were not charged with any involvement. The paper says that authorities would not comment on the investigation and the attorney for O’Neal and Stevens also declined to comment. O’Neal told investigators when he was questioned that he was not involved in the incident. He also stated that he would have had no problems with the release of a videotape since he was getting divorced.