A Jefferson Parish judge has found former New Orleans Saints player Robert Meachem in contempt of court for failing to pay nearly $400,000 in child support and alimony owed to his ex-wife.
Meachem — who last month testified about his suspicion that a former business associate had robbed him of millions — can pull himself out of contempt if he pays off the $388,019 debt by Jan. 20.
Facing jail and fines over a missed court hearing and accusations that he owes almost $400,0…
It isn't clear what might happen to Meachem if he doesn't meet that deadline. Judge Adrian Adams of 24th Judicial District Court had the authority to tell Meachem he would serve jail time if he didn't pay up, but the judge didn't do that when he ruled Jan. 6.
Attorney Mitchell Hoffman, who represents Meachem's ex-wife, Andrea Rhodes, said Friday he intends to ask Adams to clarify what consequences the former Saints receiver might face if he doesn't pay up by the deadline.
Meanwhile, Meachem's side has indicated that it intends to move for a new trial on the issues that triggered the contempt finding, Hoffman said.
Adams also found Meachem in contempt for failing to produce his assistant for a scheduled deposition.
Guy DeLaup, Meachem's lawyer, declined comment on the case other than to say he will "continue to assert" his client's rights.
On a related matter, both sides are awaiting a ruling from the state 5th Circuit Court of Appeal on whether Adams should have held Meachem in contempt for having removed money from a bank account despite an earlier injunction — one Rhodes argued prohibited such a withdrawal.
The legal saga dates back to 2014, when Meachem and Rhodes separated after nearly six years of marriage and two children. They finalized a divorce in 24th Judicial District Court last year, agreeing to share custody of the children.
A local domestic court hearing officer in November calculated that Meachem owed about $588,000 to Rhodes in spousal and child support, of which he had paid only about $200,000. The officer also suggested that Adams hold Meachem in contempt of court.
More than six years after helping the Saints win their lone Super Bowl title, former NFL pla…
During a hearing last month, Meachem testified that his inattentiveness to his bank balances had allowed a past officer of one of his charitable foundations to steal much of his money from him.
He also said he had given power of attorney and access to his funds to an assistant who had been withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars without his knowledge or direction, though he didn't characterize the behavior as theft.
Meachem, who in 2010 helped the Saints win their lone Super Bowl, said that as a result of his troubles, he has had to borrow from friends, live off credit cards and consider working as a shoe salesman.
Another of Rhodes' attorneys, Melanie Lockett, countered that much of the supposed financial loss cited by Meachem would have happened before the former player last year told court officials he could afford to pay $20,000 per month — dating back almost three years — to support his ex-wife and children.
Meachem spent the first four and final two of his seven NFL campaigns with the Saints, scoring nearly 30 touchdowns. He last played in 2014.
It was in his lone season away from New Orleans that he landed his most lucrative playing deal, signing a contract with the San Diego Chargers that guaranteed him $14 million.
Many in New Orleans remember him for pulling off one of the most exhilarating plays in Saints history.
The sequence known as "the Meacharound" or "Robert's Robbery" unfolded during the Saints' Super Bowl season, when he ran in for a touchdown after snatching the ball away from a Washington safety who had just intercepted Saints quarterback Drew Brees.