Attorney Michael Avenatti is still saying he can prove that Nike has been bribing high school students and interfering with college recruitment. Meanwhile, he’s facing serious charges on both coasts including extortion (from Nike) and bank fraud. Today, Fox News reports federal authorities seized a private jet that belonged to Avenatti:
“Federal authorities have seized a jet co-owned by Mr. Avenatti pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a federal judge. This seizure is related to the pending criminal case in Los Angeles,” a federal official told Fox News…
Federal court records indicated that the plane, bought on Jan. 30, 2017, was registered to Passport 420, a company co-owned by Avenatti. A government complaint obtained by Fox News said Avenatti’s wife, Lisa-Storie Avenatti, said he owned two private jets — one through Avenatti & Associates and the other through Passport 420 — and that each had a value of $4.5 million.
The warrant under which the plane was seized was under seal; Avenatti was accused last month of failing to pay income taxes for almost a decade despite making $18 million since 2010. Officials are also looking at his firm, which is said to have recorded $38 million in deposits but filed no tax returns.
Prosecutors did not disclose if the jet was seized to satisfy a judgment, or in connection with nonpayment of taxes.
True to form, Avenatti says Fox News has it all wrong. He claims he gave up his interest in the plane months ago:
Re the “jet seizure” and Fox News’ tabloid journalism – led by moron @ShepNewsTeam: I haven’t used the jet in almost a year and gave up my interest months ago last year. So they have no idea what they are talking about.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) April 10, 2019
CBS News reported back in December that Avenatti had agreed to give up his Ferrari and a private plane in a settlement with his estranged-wife:
Among the assets Avenatti is turning over are a 2017 Ferrari GT Spider, five watches including a Rolex that retails for $12,000, a sculpture by famed architect Frank Gehry and a six-seat business jet worth millions.
Avenatti stressed that development was an agreed-upon deal as part of his divorce proceedings. He said he and his ex-wife came to an agreement, known as a stipulation, in which certain assets would be transferred to her and she would sell them. The court then approved the deal.
“This was done by way of a negotiated consensual agreement. I wasn’t ordered to do anything,” he said.
Business Insider reported at the time that the plane Avenatti agreed to give over to his wife (his share of it anyway) was one owned by his law firm, not the one owned by Passport 420. So it seems today’s actions related to his second jet.
In any case, the jab at Shepard Smith isn’t solely because Avenatti hates Fox News, it’s also because Smith made a few quips about Avenatti’s downfall when reporting the story today. In fact, his closing line was pretty good. Smith said, “trips between CNN and MSNBC will now require and Uber as the jet is no more.”