Rison loses NFL pension in child-support case
THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION
Friday, May 05, 2006
By Ron Fonger
GENESEE COUNTY - Former Pro Bowl receiver and Flint Northwestern star athlete Andre Rison has lost his NFL pension to pay for past-due child support in Michigan.
A court-appointed receiver said Thursday that he has won more than $64,000 in pension funds to help pay down a child support debt here of about $100,000 owed to ex-wife Tonja Rison of Southfield and their two children.
David Findling, the Royal Oak attorney appointed to recover Rison's assets in the county, provided a copy of the check from the NFL Players Second Career Savings Plan dated April 19.
"There have been a lot of ongoing things to try to recoup the money that is owed to Tonja Rison," Findling said.
"One of the ways we can do this is by taking someone's pension."
The Flint Journal could not immediately reach Rison's attorney, David A. Kallman of Lansing.
Findling was assigned by the county's Probate Court to find Rison's assets in 2002, and for years the former NFL star and his representatives have claimed he did not have the money to pay child support debts here and in Georgia to Raycoa Handley, a Flint native who is the mother of two of Rison's other children.
Rison last played for the NFL's Oakland Raiders, but he starred for the Atlanta Falcons and in the Super Bowl for the Green Bay Packers as well.
He came back to play in the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts before leaving football.
He has been jailed over criminal charges tied to his child support problems in Georgia and Michigan.
Findling said Rison has few if any remaining assets but is owed money by the Raiders.
"My powers are limited to property or assets in Michigan," he said, but "the NFL does business here," making the domestic relations order to tap the pension legitimate.
Randall Kessler, an attorney who represents Handley, said he expects to register orders in Michigan to secure some of the pension money for the $50,000 owed in Georgia.
"Congratulations to the receiver for doing a good job," Kessler said. "He still owes a lot of money to us. There's definitely still a debt here."
Kessler said the last he was aware, Rison was trying to sign a contract
with an arena football team.