As if Dwyane Wade needed anymore good news after settling a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that's been haunting him for years, finalizing his divorce and winning custody of his kids, and luring dream teammates Chris Bosh and LeBron James to Miami: His nemesis Richard von Houtman has been charged with a felony for not paying legal bills he accrued upon being sued by Wade for libel.
Dwyane, to borrow your metaphor: If today is 9/11, then you, friend, are Osama.
Von Houtman -- a self-professed baron who was born Richard Anthony Houtman -- has been charged in Palm Beach County with intentionally issuing worthless checks to his former attorney, Jeffrey Shaffer. Reached by Riptide, Shaffer declined to comment but did confirm that the bounced payments, totalling $25,000, were for von Houtman's defense in Wade's libel suit.
Von Houtman calls the charge "ridiculous." He says he asked Shaffer -- "a no-good little scum bucket" -- to hold the checks, but the attorney deposited them anyway. After first urging Riptide not to write this story, von Houtman had another lawyer -- Tampa's Victor Martinez -- call to tell us that he will be settling the dispute in a couple of days.
It's not the first time von Houtman has been charged with a felony. In 1998, von Houtman-- who once had a mansion confiscated for financial ties to a Dutch drug lord -- attacked Palm Beach County sheriffs and faced deportation to his native Britain. Eventually convicted of misdemeanor battery, he was allowed to stay in the country.
As for that libel suit, Wade has moved slowly in pursuing it. Von Houtman is literally begging for the superstar to sue him more vigorously, promising to release all sorts of nasties into the public record in response. "I'm still not satisfied with Mr. Wade," he vows.
He's now being represented by Bruce Del Valle, who hails from the far-away province of DeLand. Let's hope these new attorneys von Houtman is luring from all over the state are demanding payment in cash.
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