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Tim Hardaway's Convict Business Partners

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It seems all millionaire athletes, including LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, like to bring longtime pals into their financial fold. What better way to show you haven't forgotten your roots?

But when your buds tend to end up in court facing credit card fraud, battery, and heroin dealing charges, you might want to give them a low-impact position in your empire, such as Guy Who Keeps the Escalade Running on Cold Days. Not, for instance, Business Partner.

Tim Hardaway, we're talking to you.

Everybody's favorite homophobic retired point guard appears to have run into money trouble of late, despite $47 million earned in the NBA and a current suit-and-tie job with the Miami Heat. In September, the team threw Hardaway a financial alley-oop by buying his suburban Miami mansion but allowing him to continue living there, so that he could pay off a $120,000 IRS lien.

Hardaway's vice appears to be plenty of ill-conceived and/or badly run businesses, if Florida corporation records are any guide. Since 1998, he's founded 15 establishments and most seem to have kicked the bucket: There are House of Wings, US 1 Finest Hand Car Wash & Service, Finest New York Style Pizza, and the mysterious Stabilizair, Inc.

Hardaway made some dubious choices in picking partners for those businesses. As New Times disclosed last month, his official sidekick in both the pizza place and upscale car wash joint was Cory Mason. Hardaway's old friend was arrested in 2000 for offering an undercover detective "$10 or $20" for "head," according to a police report, and in 2007 for turning the car wash outfit into his own personal credit card fraud operation.

Mason was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison and has since declared bankruptcy. Reached on his cell phone, Mason told New Times that he was under orders from Hardaway's reps not to answer our questions. "They've told me not to even get involved," he said, adding that Hardaway himself also wouldn't be talking to us.

Gerald Kancey, Hardaway's partner in House of Wings, has an equally toxic criminal record, having been convicted in 1986 of cocaine possession and carrying a concealed weapon. Seven years later, he was charged with battery on a police officer, a charge that was knocked down to a misdemeanor. And in 1998, he was accused of assault and battery in a case that was dismissed. Sprinkled liberally throughout Kancey's record: accusations of domestic violence.

Even Hardaway's partner in his children's charity, Tim Hardaway Foundation, has a criminal record. In 1991 and 1992, Paul Jacques LaRoche was charged with dealing heroin, entering a drug program each time. We're all for second chances, Tim -- but are you really shocked that organizations run with these dudes aren't exactly the most efficient corporations this side of Microsoft?

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