OKC businessman says Thunder analyst owes him thousands
By Phil Cross
OKLAHOMA CITY — A local business owner says one of the television commentators for the Oklahoma City Thunder owes him thousands of dollars.Larry Rowell is one of the owners of R&R Estate Jewelers in Northwest Oklahoma City. He deals in high-end jewelry and on occasion will provide small short-term loans."I do loans to help folks that need help," Rowell said. He doesn't usually ask why people need quick cash, but Rowell says he's never had problems doing occasional loans. He said he usually only loans out a few hundred dollars at a time.Rowell told Fox 25 that was his expectation when the Oklahoma City Thunder's Grant Long walked into his store. Long is the color television analyst for Thunder games who Rowell says asked for a $5,000 loan."The premise was that he just needed some emergency money and he was going to take care of it next month," Rowell said, "It felt logical and I went along with it."Rowell said Long also promised to introduce his store to some of the Thunder players who might be interested in purchasing some of his higher-priced jewelry."I swallowed it hook, line and sinker," Rowell told Fox 25.The handwritten agreement called for Long to repay Rowell $6,000 in 45 days. Rowell said it was a much larger loan than he is used to providing and that it was Long's idea to repay $6,000 for a $5,000 loan. Long left the title for his 2009 Cadillac Escalade as collateral for the loan.Those 45 days were up last October. "The second it was done it was the last I heard from him, other than one time that he answered the phone in six months and answered a text in six months and said 'I either pay my rent or pay you what do you think I'm going to do,'" Rowell said."There is an agreement between Larry and I," Grant Long told Fox 25 during a phone interview, "Without going into much detail, which I won't do, I just say that his loan will be satisfied. It's not like I'm running out of town on a deal that I left on the table."Long said he never promised Rowell he could bring in any Thunder business. "I don't have any control over that so I couldn't promise that because I couldn't deliver that," Long sad, "I've never made the promise that I would bring in any players or coaches or anybody."According to online court records, Rowell is not the only one or the only local business looking to collect a debt from Long. Oklahoma County court records show since the loan Long got from Rowell, nine different businesses, including two local quick-cash companies, filed lawsuits against Long in district court.Earlier this year, Long filed for bankruptcy in federal court. His initial paperwork filed for the bankruptcy only lists four creditors, including two out-of-state casinos which Long said he owed a combined total of more than $300,000. That creditor list does not include the loan he took out from Rowell which was supposed to be paid in October. It also does not include many of the companies that have sued Long over unpaid debts."That's my personal business and I won't go into that," Long told Fox 25.Long says despite his loan being more than nine months overdue he does intend to repay Rowell. "Believe me, I understand his concern, but certainly believe me that will be fulfilled."Rowell said he is upset he was taken in by Long's celebrity status and hopes, even if he never sees the money he's owed, his story will help prevent others from being so trusting. "I think any time you use your celebrity to take advantage of folks it's just not right."
KOKH Fox 25 provides, news, sports, weather and local event coverage in Oklahoma City and surrounding areas, including McLoud, Shawnee, Tecumseh, Seminole, Wewoka, Maud, Asher, Wanetted, Goldsby, Norman, Blanchard, Chickasha, Pauls Valley, Purcell, Andarko, Bridgeport, Lawton, Duncan, Okarche, Kingfisher, Guthrie Stillwater and Cushing, Oklahoma.