NFL legend Antonio Gates fumbles Detroit mortgage, suit claims

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit — Retired Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was sued in federal court Thursday and accused of failing to pay more than $1.5 million owed on a Detroit strip mall.

PNC Bank sued Gates and Marketing Goldmines Consulting LLC, alleging the Bloomfield Township company and the Detroit native have failed to pay more than $1.5 million mortgage on a tax-delinquent strip mall on the city's east side. 

Antonio Gates, who played his high school at Detroit Central, spent his entire 16-year career with the San Diego and Los Angeles Chargers. His 116 touchdown catches are the most by a tight end in league history.

The lawsuit was filed two months after Gates retired from the NFL as one of the most prolific tight ends in NFL history. He was paid approximately $71 million during a 16-year career.

Gates played football at Detroit Central High School. He originally went to Michigan State to play football and basketball but left when Nick Saban wanted him to only play football. He transferred to Eastern Michigan but would eventually end up at Kent State, where he led the school to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament in 2002.

A defense lawyer for Gates is not listed in federal court.

Marketing Goldmines signed a $1.68 million promissory note for the 32,505-square-foot strip mall in March 2017, according to the lawsuit.

The strip mall is a half-mile north of The Heidelberg Project on Detroit's east side.

Gates, 39, the limited liability company's sole member, guaranteed repayment of the note, the lawsuit alleges.

Marketing Goldmines has failed to pay, prompting PNC Bank to demand repayment from Gates.

"Despite demand, Gates has failed, neglected and refused to repay the sums owed to PNC pursuant to the guaranty," bank attorney Douglas Bernstein wrote in the lawsuit.

Bernstein declined comment Friday.

The strip mall, anchored by a Sav a Lot discount grocery store, owes $274,181 in delinquent property taxes dating to 2017, according to the Wayne County Treasurer's Office.

PNC Bank is seeking a $1,518,897 judgment and an order that the property be sold to the highest bidder. The bank also wants a receiver appointed to preserve and oversee the property.

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