When the phrase “a scheme that Todd setup” enters the chat, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” fans automatically are taken aback by Kandi Burrus and her Aunt Bertha’s dramatic yet memorable moment.
And, while people are still rather unclear about the accusation around Todd, it is alleged that former sports agent Tank Black had some schemes of his own that left the athletes he represented without vast chunks of their earned income. One of those victims is former NFL star Fred Taylor.
Fred Taylor is a former NFL running back drafted in 1998 as the No. 9 pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Throughout his career, he would make 2,534 rushing attempts, gain 11,695 yards, and score 66 touchdowns.
Taylor’s athletic abilities earned him a rookie contract worth approximately $10.7 million over six years, according to reports. This contract would also include a $5 million signing bonus as an additional incentive.
As a rookie in 1998, things were looking up. According to an archived Sports Illustrated report, Taylor hired Tank Black as his agent. Their relationship went beyond business. Taylor considered Black a second father and referred to him as “Pops.” The two’s relationship was solid, to say the least.
“You’ve got to understand the way I thought of Tank,” Taylor said to Sports Illustrated. “You don’t have a lot of relationships like that in your life.”
One could assume with someone like Black in place, Taylor would not have to worry about the business side of his career, but that trust soon faded.
In the fall of 1999, Taylor discovered that he had been cheated out of millions of dollars thanks to a Pyramid Scheme Black allegedly invested in.
But how did they get to this point?
He Did What?
Tank Black worked hard to become of the most well-respected sports agents in the industry. According to the Sports Illustrated report, Black had over 35 NFL players signed to his South Carolina-based agency. In 1999, he would make history by signing five first-round draft picks.
It was this growing reputation that initially attracted Taylor.
Fred Taylor recently appeared on an episode of Bussin’ With the Boys detailing what happened between him and Black.
“I chose my first agent first and foremost because he’s a black guy. I had an opportunity to go with Leigh Steinberg. They courted me and tried to recruit me, but I turned them down. I don’t even regret that,” Taylor explained.
When the opportunity for Taylor to make more money from the allure of offshore accounts came up, he trusted Black to make the right decision. Little did he know, the offshore accounts were a part of an illegal Ponzi scheme that would cost him around $3 million.
“I had a $5 million signing bonus in ’98. That was huge. I had the potential to make like $16 million on my rookie deal. He took that check after I signed it, and I remember seeing $2.8 million go into a bank account. They took that money and invested it into an offshore account, which eventually became a Ponzi scheme,” Taylor recalled.
“They would give me these window documents of what I was getting for return on investment, which was like 30 grand a month. Fast forward, it ends up being a Ponzi scheme, total bullsh-t. My money was frozen. I ended up getting back about $2 million of it. So I lost $300,000 plus whatever interest I could’ve made,” he continued explaining on the podcast.
Not Again, Fam
While Taylor and Black have long parted ways, the former agent was riddled with lawsuits that led to an arrest. Taylor, however, would tap into more bad luck with a new financial advisor, Jeff Rubin.
Rubin and Taylor met in college, and after saying all the right things, Taylor hired Rubin to run his finances.
“He started taking shots at private equity deals. He put us in a casino deal down in Alabama. I thought it was a good deal. It was a charitable bingo operation. At the time, they were great in Alabama. They built up the casino, and on our opening night, they raided it. They said, ‘this is an illegal operation.’ The bingo is a front. I had $1.6 million in that deal,” Taylor said.
During the early years of his career, Taylor was not on top of his financial gain but soon learned through misfortune the value of having an understanding of what was happening with his finances.
“I learned a valuable lesson,” Taylor said. “Stuff that I can talk to my kids about, I can talk to young players about. I can go into these speaking engagements and Fortune 500s and talk to their employees about it. In hindsight, it’s a blessing in disguise. I learned a lot, and I’m much better for it now.”
How He's Faring Today
Despite some early losses in his career, Fred Taylor has a net worth of $12 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.