Court Told Wilkins Paid $100,000 for Cocaine
NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) _ Former NBA star Dominique Wilkins allegedly paid $100,000 for cocaine to a man whose body was later found burned beyond recognition, according to testimony during a coroner’s inquest.
A Bahamas police constable, testifying in a Nassau courtroom this week, said the man who allegedly received the money told him Wilkins was cheated and never received the drugs.
``That’s the craziest thing I’ve heard in my life,″ Wilkins, who once starred for the Atlanta Hawks and now plays for a team in Greece, said Thursday by telephone. ``I never gave $100,000 to anyone in my life, other than my mother.″
A coroner’s jury started hearing testimony Monday into the deaths of Philip Collie, 37, and a girlfriend, Bianca Evans, 26. Their burned bodies were found in Collie’s car Dec. 20, 1991.
The woman had disappeared a day earlier, her mother testified. Collie had been seen a few days earlier.
Testimony in the inquest put Wilkins in the Bahamas for short period in July 1991.
``I’ve been there 12, 13 times,″ he told The Associated Press from his home in Athens, Greece. ``I may have been there in 1991. I don’t know if that (year) was one of them.″
Constable Raynard Woods, Collie’s nephew, testified Tuesday about a report he filed with police in 1991 that his uncle told him he received the money from Wilkins and never intended to deliver the drugs.
The constable said his nephew told him he and a man who was running a basketball camp, Jeff Rodgers, teamed to cheat Wilkins out of the money. The number listed for Rodgers in the Nassau phone directory was not in service late Thursday.
``Did he tell you who supplied the $100,000?″ prosecutor Cleopatra Christie asked Woods.
``From Mr. Wilkins,″ the constable replied.
``This is the most bogus story I have ever heard,″ Wilkins said. ``I’m shocked, stunned. I don’t even know how to respond. This is totally ridiculous.″
Woods testified that Collie confided he and Rodgers had concocted a story that the men who were going to deliver the cocaine had been caught and Collie had to use the $100,000 to bail them out.
Wilkins said he and other NBA players participated in the basketball camp run by Rodgers.
``He would pay NBA guys to appear at the camp,″ Wilkins said. ``Half the guys in the NBA know Jeff.″
Woods said Collie was unemployed in 1991. He said at various times, Collie owned a Jaguar, a Rolls Royce and a Cadillac.
The bodies of Collie and his girlfriend were found in Collie’s Cadillac near a pier in Nassau. Missing were Collie’s feet, hands, penis and testicles.
In the Bahamas, a coroner’s inquest declares if there is a crime. The attorney general’s office then decides if there should be a criminal investigation.
Coroner Winston Saunders said Wednesday he would keep the inquest open until April 15 to give the attorney general’s office time to reach Wilkins and others.
``The evidence is strong evidence, which has the capacity ... to ruin reputations,″ Saunders said.
The inquest is only now being held because of dozens of cases that were ignored by the government of Prime Minister Lynden Pindling, officials said. Pindling’s 25-year government ended in August 1992.
Wilkins, once one of the NBA’s most dazzling players, signed a two-year contract for $7 million last year with Panathinaikos Athens after leaving the Boston Celtics.
Wilkins played more than 11 seasons with the Atlanta before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in February 1994. His best season was 1985-86 when he led the NBA in scoring, averaging 30.3 points per game.
He signed as a free agent with the Celtics in July 1994 and then with the Greek team in August 1995.